Something very, very important happened last night and I was fortunate enough to be a part of it. My candidate, Barack Obama, won the presidency of the United States of America.
The past 8 years have been dark ones for me. I don’t think I realized how adjusted I had become to living in a fog of fear and despair about the political climate of our country until last night when every network & paper had called it for Obama and I couldn’t believe it because I was waiting for someone to say “Oops. We made a mistake. It’s actually McCain by 2 electoral votes.”
It took McCain’s concession speech for me to accept that it was happening. It was real. We did it.
And the crowds at McCain’s rally and Obama’s hometown said it all about how this race was fought and run. McCain’s mention of President-Elect Barack Obama was met with boos, people shouting “Nobama” and the like. Obama’s mention of his opponent was met with applause. McCain divided and failed. Obama united and triumphed. I think that gives me more hope than anything else.
Our new president’s acceptance speech was spectacular. It was humble, funny, intelligent and honest. (And there will be a new puppy in the White House!) Someone said that his speech would tell us how he would lead. Why suddenly this speech after all of the others he’s given I am not sure but if this speech is to be the standard then we are in for a hard, challenging, lofty and wonderful four years. We will have a president that uses words for meaning, impact and power. We will have a president who loves his family and uses that love to guide him through his life. We will have a president that believes in us more than we believe in ourselves.
I am proud this morning. Proud that we have our first black president. Proud that we had the kind of voter turn-out we should have for every election. Proud that people feel hopeful about what we can do in this country and in this world.
The panes of bullet-proof glass that flanked our new president last night and the passing of Proposition 8 in California show us how far we have to go in this country and I don’t think Barack would have it any other way. Because it is those obstacles that inspire us to stay involved and strive for something better.
This is the giant leap forward to something better.