Ohio! Go, son, go! I just went to the CNN website and the headline gave me goosebumps: ‘Red States Turning Blue on U.S. Map.’
I admit I get emotional on days like today. I only had to think oh so briefly about what it means, for Americans, for the rest of the world, and for the health of the American Dream that Obama’s ahead and on target before the salt got in my eyes. Americans are stepping up. They’re optimists, they’re idealists, and they’re stepping up. I can’t be the only whatever the hell I am – democratically minded liberal humanist, if you want to throw a label my way – with a lump in my throat watching these results come in. It vindicates the only faith I have, which unlike that of many Americans across the political spectrum is not religious in nature. I do understand their fervour, I do, because I feel just as passionately about what I believe, which is that people are never so different, and that in general and in essence, they’re good. They’re trying. They want things to be better for their children. They want to believe in themselves. Don’t we all? Don’t we all hope? Of course we do. We celebrate, we mourn, we make mistakes, we fall in love, we do our best, and we hope.
I remember when we saw Don Watson speak at the Lowy Lunch a couple of months ago, talking about his new book American Journeys, he said that he thought after travelling the US for several months that Obama was going to lose the election. He said he didn’t want to believe it, but the conclusion was there to be drawn. He said he hoped he was wrong, and I thought, “Me too.” His words have haunted me since. I’ve heard them rattling around in a corner of my mind, niggling at me, chasing my faith down. Gnawing at my optimism. And yet here we are, on this historic day, and here she comes: America. I should never have doubted her. We haven’t reached the end of this nail-biting day, but I’m feeling good, and I have faith.
POSTSCRIPT: we backed the winner, all right. What a moment in history. Since we don’t have a TV, I ran down to the nearest pub just in time to see Obama’s live acceptance speech. How sweet it is.