1) In Obama’s speech last night, he reached out to those who voted against him and did so in an utterly eloquent, firm, and — to my ears — somewhat sly manner:
To those Americans whose support I have yet to earn — I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president too.
That last clause had me cheering as much as anything else, save for the wonderful news that Michelle will be our next first lady. I like the way Obama pledges to work on behalf of all the people he represents. But when he says “I will be your president too,” I hear more than a promise of bipartisan/purple governance, I hear an air of authority, a determined leader taking his rightful place. Recognize! I like that. And I look forward to what just might be a new era in American politics & society.
2) Clearly, so does the rest of the world. People around the globe were watching last night’s returns as if the future of the planet depended on it, and that might be right. I was most struck by a brief gchat conversation I had yesterday afternoon with a friend in Botswana.
me: today’s the big day
him: the biggest day in my life
For someone who’s not even a US citizen to feel that way brings home the importance and power of what we’ve just done. The symbolic weight of Obama’s victory, here and abroad, has only begun to sink in. It’s really quite a radical thing, especially in Africa or for people of African heritage or for anyone committed to shedding the shackles of racism. For perhaps the first time in the history of humanity, and certainly in the modern era, the most powerful man in the world will be a black man.
3) Finally, I’m just thrilled that Nico and millions of other children will grow up with Obama as their model of a president and statesman. I can’t even imagine the difference that that makes, but I think it’s gotta be huge. Here’s hoping he’ll set a good example, and have a solid plan, for how to get out of the tangled mess we’re in —