I really did not believe Barack Obama had a chance to win the election. Not because he wasn't qualified. I think he may be the best qualified president we have had since Franklin Roosevelt (and a good thing too because our country is in the ditch almost as deep as it was in 1932, in different ways).
I thought he didn't have a chance because, somewhere along the way from the Nixon administration to now, I stopped believing that America could really be "united." I hoped for it; wished for it; prayed for it. I lamented the absence of unity and a sense of common purpose. I talked a lot and wrote a lot about the need to find a common purpose, the need for We The People to take back out country. That has been a mantra for me for at least the last eight years.
The problem was (and I only realized this when the election was over) that the insidious messages of fear and hate with which we have been bombarded from our government officials for years had seeped in. I had stopped believing it was possible.
In the final days running up to the election, my heart began to pitter with the smallest stirrings of hope. My mind kept talking it all away. As late as Election Day, I still could not believe he would win.
I didn't believe it until he walked out on that podium and gave one of the most wonderful political speeches I have ever heard. It was the first time I actually listened to him speak. (I typically read the transcripts of the speeches.) It was wonderful. I stood up in front of my TV and applauded when he referred to We The People. I stood up and wept.
But I did not dance around in joy. There is too much at stake. Too much to do. To much danger still out there.
I was gratified to know that our next president, too, is steadying his nerves and steeling his will for a time of intense work.
We are far from out of the woods, but at least now I think we have a leader who owns a Compass, and knows how to read it.
This is a wonderful week in America.
Hell, it's a wonderful week on Planet Earth.