As confident as I have been over the last few months, there was always a part of me that was unsure. It was a nagging feeling that if I built my hopes up too high the pain of defeat would be devastating. Well, in hindsight I am really glad I was so hopeful. The faith I had in Obama as a candidate and in my fellow citizens to vote the right way has paid off in spades. The money I donated to the campaign was the best money I have ever spent. I have been walking in the clouds since the wee hours of Wednesday morning here in Copenhagen.
I will never forget the scene from TV. CNN had just called Ohio for Obama, giving him over 220. The west coast states were going to close in less than two minutes. Out of some sense of electoral etiquette, they would only call a state once the polls had officially closed. Blitzer stood there kind of awkwardly, trying to fill the time with meaningless comments. Anybody watching who knew anything about the electoral college knew it was over, but there he was saying things like, "We might be able to make a big announcement soon..." Sometimes being politically correct and overtly non-partisan makes you look foolish and ignorant. But the counter finally hit zero, the canned CNN PROJECTION graphic went up, and the world exploded. We were going to have a black president. By all accounts, people poured into the streets worldwide. Newscasters likened it to the millennium celebrations. I cried.
This was the first presidential election I was allowed to vote in, and I have been following it for two years. I remember in late 2006 when rumors were swirling about Obama. Then in January of 2007 Bill Richardson announced his candidacy, and I thought he would be the one to win the nomination. He had incredible experience both domestically and internationally, as Secretary of Energy, Ambassador to the UN, and as a Congressman. He had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and was serving as Governor of New Mexico. Then Obama announced, and I thought to myself that he would be the perfect VP for someone like Richardson. I remember seeing Obama speak in Oakland, Calif. on St. Patrick's Day in 2007. I was impressed with his oratorical skills and by the incredible size of the crowd he drew. As time went on and it became clear Obama was more of a heavyweight than anyone originally gave him credit for, I jumped camps. Until that point I believed Obama would make a better president than Richardson, but that America wasn't ready for a black president yet. I have never been so proud to have been wrong.
The next few weeks will be especially interesting. The backbiting among the McCain campaign will spill out completely, and we will get to watch Obama assemble the team that will lead our nation out of the sordid state it is currently in. Rahm Emanuel will make an outstanding Chief of Staff, if he takes the job, because someone is needed to stand up to congressional Democrats who want to take it too far. The massive majorities Democrats enjoy will have to be wielded delicately. Bad things can happen with so much power, but good things can too. The Dems in 1993 went too far and got smacked down in 1996. Same thing to the Republicans in 2006. Even though we don't need GOP support for legislation, for the most part, we should seek it so we can maintain control for years to come.
Some juicy stuff is already out about the McCain campaign. Now that the election is over, things that were off the record are now allowed to be reported. My favorite so far is from Fox News concerning Sarah "I can see Russia from my house" Palin:
1- She didn't know which countries were in NAFTA.
2- She didn't know that Africa is a continent instead of a country.
3- She threw temper tantrums over her press coverage.
And we thought she was unqualified before. We are told that over the next few days there will be many more stories about Palin. Please let her be the next candidate for the GOP. Please.
Excuse me, I'm still not done dancing in the streets.