Tuesday, 4 November 2008

History has been made

The right man won.

I am glad.

He's just a man, and only time will tell if he will be a good President. But he will have help. It will be interesting if the Dems carry the House and the Senate (and it looks like they will) what that means for America.

A Democratic majority at all levels. Now that's a change!

And best of all, bye-bye Sarah Palin!

Update: Paul Wells nails the sentiment of the moment:

# 11:13 PM Paul Wells - I was born less than 10 minutes’ drive from a major Canada-U.S. border crossing. I used to drive to Port Huron, MI to buy better jazz LPs than I could find in Sarnia. In our school, a quick trip to Detroit, to see the Tigers or Billy Idol or Sting was a several-times-a-year thing. On the last weekend of the summer of 1984 I went with two friends to Bert’s Market Place in Detroit to watch Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers jamming with the locals. The three of us were the only white guys in the room.

I’ve grown up loving the United States, and I was kind of amazed when a strange thing started happening a few weeks after 9/11. Conservative Canadian commentators started branding as “anti-American” thoughts and opinions I have always associated with the United States: openness to contradictory opinion, concern for one’s neighbour, ethnic and religious diversity, a willingness to exhaust the possibilities of diplomacy — defined as honest negotiation with people you DON’T agree with, not huddling defensively with people you do — before resorting to force. All of this, I read, was “wet” or “Trudeaupian” or otherwise, somehow, an affront to some people’s definition of true American values.

So I know it’s not my country and I know I don’t get a vote, but for several years there I wondered whether all these people who claimed to talk on America’s behalf were getting that country wrong — or I was.

Tonight I heard from the America I grew up with, the America I love. I have been critical of Barack Obama as a candidate and my hopes for him as President are not sky-high. But in the end he was better than the alternative and he can hardly help but be better than his predecessor. And his country took an ennobling step forward by choosing him.

“You walk into the voting booth and each time you pull the little lever there is implicit in the gesture a tiny leap of faith,” Anna Quindlen wrote — in 1992, a detail which stands in retrospect as a handy lesson in the limits of optimism. “And this time some hope as well.”

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