We elected Barack Obama yesterday.
It's hard to overstate how momentous this is. Sure, he's a Democrat, which by itself would be something to sing about after eight years of failed Bush presidency. But it's so much more than that. If you ask me, the entire world breathed a little easier this morning.
America is a great country, but we're far from perfect, and for the last eight years I've felt somewhat embarrassed to call myself an American. While traveling abroad last year, I knew my accent gave me away, and it made me anxious. I wanted to make sure that people knew that I (and many of us) really didn't support this government, which has made enemies of so many and seemed to care about so few. And I really did wonder how we could possibly survive another four years of the same sorts of policies.
Today I don't have to wonder, I can just feel proud. I feel like we grew up a little bit as a country. We said to the world, and more importantly to ourselves, that we have the will to change. Instead of picking another Old White Guy to lead us, we picked someone young, progressive, and idealistic, who is determined to change the face of politics and of our country.
And we picked a black man, our first president of color. It's interesting to think that this might somehow add a lone bright star to George Bush's legacy: some are saying that it was only on the heels of such an inept and destructive administration that so many voters could be willing to look past their prejudices and make the choice they did. And he didn't win by a little, he won by a lot: more than seven million votes at last count. As a nation, we have decided that we are ready to open a new chapter on race. And if in some twisted way we have to count George Bush among the reasons for that, so be it.
All hyperbole aside, this really is good news. As everyone points out, there's a long, hard road ahead. But as journeys go, we've made one hell of a first step. Can we make it? My guess is, yes we can.