What a day. What a long and wonderful day. I'm home after covering the elections for about 12 hours and I saw more than a few things I didn't expect.
I was at the county elections office for about an hour this afternoon. There I saw people shouting and pumping their fists after they finished filling out their paperwork to fill out a provisional ballot. I saw people honk their horns and smile widely as they dropped ballots off. Saw the mailman beaming as he showed me a stack of ballots that people had sent via overnight mail (cost: $14).
When I saw how excited people were in a non-swing state to vote, I knew this race was all over. A few hours later, I was at the Democratic victory party in Ashland. The polls on the West Coast closed at 8:00. Moments later, the TV networks called the race for Obama. I saw hundreds of people stand up and shout. I saw many of them start crying. On giant projection screens I saw people dancing and cheering in Times Square, in front of the White House, and in Europe.
It was hard not to get swept up in it all. Hard not to think that you were seeing a moment that people will be talking about for generations.
In his moment in history, I see the seeds of greatness. We may have just elected a great leader, a transformational character in our history. This troubled time calls for greatness, and Obama may have what it takes.
Of course, there is always a chance we've just elected the second coming of Jimmy Carter. And even if he's not, it seems like it will be impossible for Obama to live up to the expectations placed on him in the US and by people around the world.
But what the hell. The American people have voted for hope, so I will offer a little hope myself tonight. So allow me to hope that Obama really is as good as everyone wants him to be. I'll hope that America has turned the corner on 16 years of divisive, wedge-issue politics. And I'll hope that, indeed, America's best days are in the future.
And in an age of fear, it's actually nice to hope, even if it is for just a few moments.