November 5, 2008

Moments (& Videos) of the Night.

 Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s former president, in a letter to Mr. Obama: “Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place.” For more world leaders’ (and ordinary citizens from around the world, click here). Or here. Excerpt:

Tristram Hunt, a British historian, put it this way: Mr. Obama “brings the narrative that everyone wants to return to — that America is the land of extraordinary opportunity and possibility, where miracles happen.”

But wonder is almost overwhelmed by relief. Mr. Obama’s election offers most non-Americans a sense that the imperial power capable of doing such good and such harm — a country that, they complain, preached justice but tortured its captives, launched a disastrous war in Iraq, turned its back on the environment and greedily dragged the world into economic chaos — saw the errors of its ways over the past eight years and shifted course.

[Videos of speeches are below]

Big moments and small moments of the night:

Oprah interview at Grant Park, where she didn’t get particularly preferential location (her view of Obama nearly blocked by those in front of her), asking her about why she endorsed for first time ever, seeing Jesse Jackson—on balcony when MLK Jr. got shot—crying for joy. Cynicism of liberals fading as the electoral map unfolded. Images of the world holding breath—and celebrating that the America regarded as font of Freedom is coming back. McCain telling a few testosteroned booing supporters to quiet down. Young black girls and boys laughing and dancing in Grant Park. Everyone crying and smiling, what Trungpa called the ideal human emotion.

[galleria thumb_w=120 thumb_h=90 thumbnail=”bottom” navigation=’none’ ]

Barack winning larger percentage of American white vote than did Kerry four years ago. American flags waving over vast (half a million) Chicago crowd. Flipping from CNN, all about numbers, to PBS to Daily Show and settling on Brokaw and Williams, dignified, on NBC. Coming out of our racist past, stepping forward with a leader who can lead—but who asks us to lead, too—into a difficult time, full of remarkable, historic challenges. Deciding to stay at home and watch TV alone, an emotional night, receiving texts from all over my hometown and the country, ecstatic.

Seeing Sarah Palin and Todd look four or eight years ahead as McCain said this election said great things of America, that we were stepping out of our tainted past. A remarkable, comfortable, teary and back-to-form concession speech. John Lewis, evoking the countless white and black Civil Rights warriors’ sacrifices bearing fruit only four decades after interracial marriage was illegal in most states. Cries of celebration from outside my house interrupting the pundits and hyped drum rolls on my TV. John King and his masterful maps.

For more Grant Park photos, click here.

Walking my mutt this morning with neighbor, our wordless jubilant hug and staring at the sky and thinking, feeling that the Bush Administration has at last begun to lift it’s un-America (Guantanamo, Bush Doctrine, wire taps) veil from our troubled skies.


Obama’s acceptance:

McCain’s gracious concession speech on Fox:


Look back on a historic speech, given (remember) after Obama was defeated in New Hampshire, despite polls showing strong lead over Hillary Clinton, the erstwhile frontrunner:


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