A defining moment
The early hours of this morning, Wednesday 5 November 2008, were one those times when we will ask “where were you when . . .”.
The long wait for the election results during the night was stomach-wrenching. I flipped from one service to another, trying to catch the results from whomever broke them first. Ultimately, I plumped for BBC, who seemed to be ahead of everyone most of the time, filling with intelligent analysis, and giving us good timings.
The countdown to the announcement of California’s results, adding 55 electoral votes for Obama, began. 9 minutes, 6 minutes, 30 seconds, and boom, it was done.
We waited a decent interval for McCain to telephone Obama, and then McCain came out to give his concession speech. He was brilliant. If he had spoken like that throughout the campaign, he might have had my vote. He was sincere, he was warm, and he showed great leadership setting the stage for working constructively with the Democrats to rebuild America. I believe his speech will be dissected by students of leadership for many years, along with the magnificant speeches made by Obama.
Winning for the young and the old
Back in Chicago, the groups at Grant Park waited for Obama. The cameras picked up more than human moments. Jesse Jackson stood very still, talking to none of cheering party faithful around him, tears rolling down his face. It was perhaps this image that helped me as a foreigner, understand how this election will heal the wounds of America, that are after all, a legacy of British rule.
The American dream
And then Obama spoke, and spoke to the great American dream – the belief that the US is strong precisely because they recognise their diverse interests. How important that is to us all!
This morning, when I awoke around 11am British time, it took me a moment to remember the events of the night, and I found myself not exhilarated but struck by awe. I checked out the chatter on line, and on Twitter particularly, and was struck by the sense of confusion. I was not alone. The only people in the world who treat the results uncomplicatedly are the Kenyans. They have declared Thursday a national holiday. What dazzling simplicity!
A quiet celebration of a new dawn
I spent a good two hours pondering the gamut of emotions we are feeling and then Twitter threw up this link to a song “Its a new dawn”. It’s mellow. Its soulful.
“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, its’s a new life for me, and I am feeling good.” Thanks @sondernagel.
Today we are mellow. Tomorrow:
“It’s a new world, it’s a bold world”