Tuesday, November 4, 2008


"Thank you, Barack Obama...Thank you for blowing away the ether of complacency." Jamie Lee Curtis. (A quote an anesthesiologist can appreciate!)

McCain supporter calling C-Span from Ohio: "Something very special happened tonight."

From tonight's speech:

"The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope."

-BARACK OBAMA, November 4, 2008

Where were you when you first heard?

I was on the phone with my husband, who had spent the day volunteering his lawyer-ly talents as a poll watcher in New Hampshire.

What are some of the memories that rushed through your mind?

I remember the first time I heard him speak, which was on a radio interview, and thinking, "Wow, he's REALLY smart."

I remember him accepting the nomination.

I remember specific moments, like the time he reminded people, "I have READ the Constitution. I have TAUGHT the Constitution." I remember thinking, "At last! Some intelligence!" when he talked to Charlie Gibson about why a bipartisan cabinet would make sense, and just now, too, when he said, "I will listen to you. ESPECIALLY when we disagree."

I remember his electrifying speech at the convention, and his wife's, and his running mate's, and the Clintons'. And the debates - including the VP candidates'. I remember how proud I was to hear my daughter saying Michelle Obama was her new hero after hearing her speak - previously her role model had been African-American opera singer Marian Anderson - and I recall thinking that maybe, just maybe, we have hope of a truly color-blind generation in-the-making.

I remember worrying about voter suppression, and racism, and his grandmother. And about the way his aura of greatness makes me think of Kennedy, Lincoln, Gandhi, and King.

I remember the teeming crowds of supporters. His deep affection for his wife and children. His tears.

I remember a stellar campaign that itself made history, with its grassroots resources, mobilization of the internet and communications technology, and its impressive organization and scope. I remember faces of young people energized, inspired, fired up with "a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in, and work harder, and look after not only ourselves but each other," and thus be a vibrant part of American history and democracy.

I remember my amazement as endorsements from people like Powell and McLellan rolled in, and as New Hamsphire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and Virginia came in "blue" on the electoral map.

I will not forget this speech I'm listening to now, which he is giving in front of half a million people in Grant Park, in which he enumerates what 106-year-old African American voter Anne Nixon Cooper has witnessed in her lifetime: the aftermath of slavery; the rise of woman suffrage; the Depression; wars; the Civil Rights Movement; the election of a the first African-American president. I will not forget McCain's gracious and moving concession speech.

I treasure most of all remembering the faces and voices of my own children as they learned about the electoral process and participated in the campaign, and the exhilaration of seeing, at last, someone who strikes me as a loving family man with brilliance, character, discipline, thoughtfulness, and vision elected to the White House.

Something very special did happen tonight. We made history. It's a shot being heard around the world: David Cameron in British Parliament said something like this (I don't have the exact quote): "To go from the horror of segregation to the election of a black president in just four decades is a remarkable transformation...[showing that the] United States is a becacon of hope and opportunity and change." He has inspired around the world "a renewed love for the United States after years of dwindling goodwill." At last we can look at our international colleagues with pride in our president and in our nation again. At last. Our "first truly global president," elected joyously by a populace ready not only for change but also for transfiguration.

Barack Obama recognized that we, America, are NOT just Joe Sixpack and Joe the Plumber; we are ALSO Maria of Guatemalan descent, Abdul serving in the army overseas, Jen whose parents immigrated from Asia, Jessica whose great-great-grandparents were slaves, Mike in college voting for the first time. I hope we can do as McCain has called us all to do: cherish our being Americans, together, far more than we cling to being Democrats or Republicans, so that we can all help this new president do his absolute best to serve this country. It's time to replace fear with hope - not optimism, HOPE: an active spirit that strives for the best, in the fundamental conviction that we CAN move toward it.

"It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve: to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day."

Election stats as of 2:30 p.m. 11/5/08:
Popular vote: Obama 63, 378, 910 (52%), McCain 56, 035, 630 (46%)
Electoral vote: Obama 349, McCain 162

Thursday, 11/6/08, as of 1:30 pm:
North Carolina called as BLUE! Electoral votes so far: 364


Anonymous said...

what a great post... you have put into words what I, as a black- woman - immigrant - surgeon felt tonight, and over the last several months as this went from a dream, to hope, to a real possibility...for a new vision for this country and for the world. I agree with you that both Obama's acceptance speech and McCain's concession speech were moving, and appropriate. I respected McCain more in defeat than during the fight, and I hope that means well for how we, as a country, can come together in the next months and years to really make meaninful change to a really broken system.


Lisa Johnson said...

What a night!! I'm so glad that you called me and we got to talk. It was truly historic.

I was thinking about how I'm part of the first generation of my family to be born with civil rights and then to see Obama elected in my lifetime.

My father remembers being told to go to the back of the bus in Texas. I had a whole lot rushing through my head and my heart.

I also feel like our country has a chance again. We have a clean slate with the world. I think we will be a more caring nation - for ourselves and for others.

Øystein said...

Congratulations on electing Obama!

From a European viewpoint it's great that you now have a president that's been focusing on positive change throughout his campaign, instead of fear and scaremongering.

In that way, he's already earned our respect.

T. said...

Sebby, Anali, Oystein - thank you for celebrating with me! It's great to hear from you.