Nov 5, 2008
Yes They Did!
Damn, it feels good. Who can remember an election result which unleashed such a surge of joy? Looking at the video clips of ordinary Americans, in cities across that fair land, cheering and laughing and dancing in the streets is enough to melt the heart of the crustiest old cynic. The slogan on everyone's lips, "Yes We Can!" is quintessential Yankee can-do optimism at its very best. And it's damned good to see after the dark, fear-ridden years of Bush and Cheney, when America showed its ugly side to the world. It feels like sunshine peeking out of dark clouds, like seeing an old and dear friend get up off his sick bed and dance.
It's good to see the Stars and Stripes waved in joy and pride by happy crowds of all ages, races and genders, instead of being used as a badge of exclusion and xenophobia. It's good to feel a whiff of positive change in the air.
I know, I know. There's plenty of reasons to be cynical about Obama; his militaristic stance on Iran, his backing of the Wall Street bailout, his silence on the Patriot Act. Maybe tomorrow or the day after that stuff will matter again, but today it just feels too damned good. Even just by getting elected, given his race and his name, he has let America cast off some old ghosts. Barack Hussein Obama took Indiana! He took Virginia!
Last night was very healing for America. And that country needs healing. President-Elect Obama is inheriting what someone called "the in-box from hell." Two unwinnable wars, a ruined international reputation, a looming ecological crisis, a deep financial crisis, a monster national debt.
But, if he has the will and the vision, he has some incredible assets as well. Last night we saw that he has the enthusiastic good-will of a large part of the American public. He has a democratic Congress to work with. And he has a big reservoir of international good-will as well. The rest of the world was rooting for him. Not only Americans have reason to celebrate.
Let's wish him, and America, all the best. Maybe they really can!