Seriously. Out of all the things that Obama said in his acceptance speech last night, that was the thing that stuck out: "Sasha, Mahlia, I love you more than you will ever know, and you have completely earned the puppy that's coming with us to the White House."
That's when Nicki started crying again.
It's been a long two years.
I can't remember when I started supporting Barack Obama. I remember putting up my "button" on my blog when I was living in the dorm in London--so that must have been before September of 2006. Before he announced his candidacy, anyway. This is the first time I've supported someone before and throughout the primaries, through the final push, and up to election night. Everyone was acting like his election was assured, but I wasn't going to believe it until I heard John McCain conceed, and heard Obama accept. So last night, after a hearty dinner of brats and sauerkraut, Nicole and I settled onto the sofas to watch CNN. It was a bit like watching a woman in labor: long hours where nothing happens, punctuated by a minute or two of activity. In this case, states being called practically as soon as the polls closed. Obama was ahead. Then he was ahead by a lot.
And at eleven pm I decided to go to bed. I took a shower and then thought "well, I'll just go see the TV one more time..." and when I came into the living room the banner on CNN read "BARACK OBAMA ELECTED PRESIDENT." And, loyal readers, I started to tear up a little bit. The commentators began talking about the historic road that Barack Obama has been walking on, and it finally struck me just what this country had done. We have elected a president with a funny name whose family is mixed race--all the comparisons with Fredrick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. didn't do the moment justice. The fact is that George Washington--still by many considered the greatest president ever--owned people simply because they had the same skin colour as Barack Obama. And now he will take the same oath, hold the same office, and lead the same country.
America is the greatest country on the earth. Not because we have the biggest bombs or the awesomest pie, but because our country can withstand these shifts in direction. Some times less easily than others, but the fact that we haven't ripped up the Constitution and started over yet is a marvel. I love my country because of this--because we can be so diverse in our attitudes and our opinions and still enjoy the freedom to call ourselves Americans.
When Obama was giving his acceptance speech, I was really struck by how tired he seemed already. I know it's been a long campaign for him, but I can't help but wonder if he feels it--feels the weight of responsibility on his shoulders. He has so many promises to deliver on (and we must hold him to those promises) as well as try not to be overshadowed by past figures. I hope for his sake he'll take a good long vacation before settling in to the White House. I know I will be. It's been a long two years--waiting, watching, talking, praying--and I need some time to recover. I can't believe it's over, and that Obama will be our president. Obama ran on a platform of change. We can believe that change will happen, for it already has.
Obama quoted Abraham Lincoln last night as well, I'll just end with that. With the end of the election comes a lot of disappointed people. I know how you feel. But you have to believe me when I say that things are going to be okay. They are going to get better. Believe it. It's already starting to happen:
"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection."