I missed the exciting points of last night. I felt crap and tired, so I went to bed at 2030, long before the first results came in at about midnight. I woke up this morning to the expected, but no less exciting, result. Congratulations, USA, you have elected someone who wants to change things. I hope he can achieve his exciting vision and help realise the potential of the US as a world leader.
I couldn't help but wonder if Hilary would have won as convincingly. I have to say, given the state of the economy and the fact that GW is currently the worst rated US president since they started polling - six points behind Nixon the week he had to resign - I'm fairly sure she would have done.
But would she have energised the electorate in the same way? Would the same number of people turned out to vote? I'm not sure. What was clear to me this morning, watching Jesse Jackson in the crowds, crying, watching young black people talking about the hope they now had for their future, watching the interview with the black senator, Henry Marsh, talking about what it meant to have a black president, was that as a non-American, I do not have the emotional connection to what it means to have a black President. It was clearer to me than it ever has been before, the extent of the hole in the American psyche that was created by slavery and its aftermath. From my perspective as a non-black, non-American, the oppression of women over the centuries and the continued inequalities in the world today are just as bad, if quite different. But in America, I think maybe they aren't. Maybe the horrific injustices of slavery and the horrific continuance of prejudice and inequality are more of a wound, and that having such a visible demonstration of fixing them provides a greater opportunity for the USA to heal, to come together to help the country and to help the world out of its current hole (despite the fact that Obama's personal family history is not part of that narrative).
So I'm glad. I shed a tear along with my best friend (who is half Afro-Caribbean, half Indian (the subcontinent, not Native American)) this morning as she told me about waking up her daughter at 2am this morning to witness history being made. I'm glad you have a President-elect who has such a vision for his country, and who has captured American hearts in such an impressive way. Congratulations.