Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Day

A brief interruption of my reports on Reactions to the Record II to ruminate on world events.

A year ago, I was a supporter of John Edwards, who, mercifully, dropped out before it became known that he'd had an affair between presidential election cycles. I honestly preferred his policies to those of the other Democratic candidates; he was the only one talking about poverty and single-payer health care. Moreover, I feared the nomination of Hilary Clinton because I could see the wingnuts rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of being able to go after her, beating her with the same sticks (lies) they'd used on President Clinton. I feared the nomination of Barack Obama because...well, I doubted whether we were ready to nominate and elect an African American citizen to the presidency, and I worried about his comparative lack of experience.

Suffice it to say that during the course of the campaign I became a big, big fan of the former junior Senator from Illinois. The focus and competence of his campaign gave me confidence in his abilities. Moreover, we could see the kind of man he is: A man of intellect, and of intellectual rigor; a decent man; a deeply thoughtful man; a man who talks to the American people with eloquence and respect; a man who is not afraid to talk about complex ideas and the hard times we're facing.

I remain thrilled that as a national, we have grown enough to elect to the presidency an African American man named Barack Hussain Obama. And I have been amazed and touched by the enthusiasm shown toward the President-elect, not only here, but abroad. At dinner Saturday, toward the end of Reactions to the Record, I was chatting with a British scholar who told me how frustrated he was that he had a vital meeting of his university department to attend during the inauguration, and how happy he is about Obama's election. Like me, he is moved to tears by this great event. I have loved the way so many people have adopted Obama as their own. You have probably seen one or the other incarnation of There's no one as Irish as Barack Obama, but did you know about Barack for Obama, from those crazy Hungarians?

In just a few hours, Barack Obama will take office. I'll be watching; my company is turning our largest meeting space into a theater for a couple of hours. I'll have lots of company, and lots of tissues with me, and I'll be very, very happy.

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