We always knew this election was crucial, but nobody could have foreseen the lightning speed with which America would be instantly transformed and redeemed--no longer scorned and despised around the globe but celebrated once again as a source of hope and promise for the world. Nobody could have imagined the sight of so many people staying up all night, dancing in the streets, of giddy tribesmen in Africa shaking gourds at each other, of everyone, everywhere, cheering and weeping uncontrollably.
Even if you voted for John McCain, according to New York Times columnist Gail Collins, you should be happy--in the realization that there are billions of people around the planet who loathed our country last week but are now in awe of it again. We will have a president the world wants to follow. This is huge. The Lincoln Memorial might be getting its gleam back, says Maureen Dowd. "I may have to celebrate by going over there and climbing up into Abe's lap. It's a $50 fine. But it'd be worth it."
After two years of grueling campaigns, race-baiting, underhanded tricks, and an interminable gestation period, the baby was born on Tuesday night--healthy, beautiful, and wearing those special gravity boots that allow you to hang in a doorway upside down. All of which means that everything looks different now--and the monsters are finally toast. (A hat tip for the monster reference to Paul Krugman, who declared in the New York Times that this was the end of an era of being "governed by monsters.") This is no small matter, as one blogger commented, "It's like being dug up after being buried alive for 8 years." And another who said, "we've finally arrived at a moment when America feels like it is supposed to feel."
When things were at their bleakest, after the Republican convention and the acme of Palin's pitt-bull, lipsticked performance on the stage there, I did a three-part divination using the Thesaurus (which I blogged about in my post of September 9th, called "Beating the Blues"). Like most everyone else I know, I was spooked at the time, scared that Obama might never get to sit down on that chair in the White House and look over the desk top after all. Flipping back to reread the third answer I got--to the question of whether Obama could still succeed against this new, nervy, mettlesome barracuda--it seems even more preternatural now to read what the Thesaurus offered me back then in response:
"Transcend, rise above, surmount, tower over, outreach, exceed, carry off the laurels, bear the palm, wear the crown, surpass, reach a new high, go one better, trump, show quality, shine, excel, assert one's superiority, be too much for, steal the show, outshine, eclipse, overshadow, ridicule, outclass, outwit, get the better of, trounce, rise to the occasion, defeat, tip the scale, change the balance, be up on, be one up."
We, the American people, would be hard-pressed to find a more lucid, sensitive, or elegant new president than "the One" who has just been elected. Each of us, of course, will be attracted to different bright parts of him. For me, it is the graciousness with which he deals with the people who have done their best to cut off his balls. There is even talk now of the new administration linking up with and incorporating John McCain. All I know is that if it were me, I would find it hard to be so forgiving. And that is why I am so excited to have Obama for my president. Most probably I'll never get to have beer with him, but this man will definitely be able to teach me a thing or two about spiritual greatness.