On this day...

Hugh,
I got a feeling it was him, speaking. Could be wrong, but my guts telling me Im not.

Throughout history, when/where-ever, the naysayers writ ran/runs large; when, "It cant be done," is the word, theres always some smuchk wholl say, "Right! OK! Lets do it then!" Ive just looked at the faces of thousands of 'smuchks’, in a stadium in Chicago, who, as far as I can tell, firmly believe that, “It can be done.” Belief wont guarantee success, but as sure as theres now a black family in the White House, its a fantastic foundation on which to start to build.

Id just like to say, to all you smuchks over there, "Well done! Good Luck! And may your God help you pour the concrete, and lay the bricks n` blocks.
Take care
Vic

I liked the refrain that ran through his history of 106-year-old Annie Cooper: “Yes we can.” Not many modern political speakers would attempt that kind of flourish; fewer still would have any chance of making it work.

H

This ist a lucky morning for all of us here in Europe. Congratulations! The USA are back!

When I woke up this morning I switched on my radio, the tv and booted my notebook to hear, see and read it! Yes, its true! Yes we can!

Today we’d all like to be Americans I wrote in my blog.
sudelbuch.de/2008/yes-we-can … amerikaner

There’s a mix of Baptist preacher and New England intellectual in Obama’s speeches, as if John Kennedy were reading what Martin Luther King wrote. I can’t imagine anyone else making it work so well.

Got an e-mail late last night from one of my daughters. “Unbelievable, it’s a new world. Great to be an American. Make plans for how you are going to be… there will be a chance to make it happen.” This from a woman who spent the past twenty years working in South America and Central Europe, and now lives in France. I had been seriously wondering – should McCain win – if I could somehow finance a move to Provence. I couldn’t, but that I even thought about it suggests how discouraged – and frustrated – many of us have felt about the direction in which the US had been moving.

I know, I know, the wise, the positive, the respectable and responsible thing to do is to work for change. But what do you do when, after working nearly a decade for change, you find the choice of your compatriots is to continue as before? And do not mistake all the make-nice speechifying: A McCain/Palin administration would have been largely a continuation of the Bush years, with the terrifying (not too strong a word) possibility that, at any moment McCain could become incapacitated, leaving us a government somewhere between Kafka and the Marx Brothers.

That is why I wrote back to my daughter, “At once surreal and sublime. Even more than what it says about Obama, I’m cheered and revitalized by what it says about us.”

And about one this morning, watching the jubilant crowds in Chicago, I found myself cheering and crying with them.

ps

Obama has made some concesions to the right that I do not agree with, so, like Jaysen, I’m a little skeptical – okay, Jaysen is a lot skeptical. However, the only choice we have is hope and Obama gives us the best hope. But ONLY if we recognize that electing Obama is just the START of the process of recovering from the disaster that is the Bush (retch!!!) administration. Still, it is nice to have hope and not feel that I need to flee my own country.

It’s proud day for America, and we have had too few of those over the last decade.

A

He wrote his own speeches until recently, when he got too busy to write them all. (The famous 2004 convention speech was his, for instance.) Now he works with a speechwriter, but from what I’ve read it’s a collaboration. He’s not just delivering lines: the words are very much his own by the time he gives the speech. The speechwriter is profiled at newsweek.com/id/84756

Katherine

I feel a tremendous sense of relief and of encouragement!

I’m relieved that my husband’s and my family’s fears that this nation would reject a highly intelligent, Harvard-educated professor intent on helping the “grass roots” of this country - the beleaguered middle class, the forgotten worker - because of his skin color were proven wrong.

I’m encouraged by what I saw among Obama’s supporters during his speech last night: a hodgepodge of Americans of all colors, ages, creeds and backgrounds, all standing together. That’s how this “melting pot” was supposed to be. Maybe the “wretched refuse” of everybody else’s teeming shore recycled itself into something useful after all.

I’m relieved that the polling went smoothly, my “three-hour tour” at the early voting site notwithstanding.

I’m encouraged that so many people shed their apathy and got out to vote.

I’m relieved that the real issues of the day, such as the economy, prevailed over bullshit.

I’m relieved that we’ll have a president who will nominate justices who are more inclined to honor precedents that have guaranteed individual liberties, than to protect corporations, to erode individual freedom, and to expand executive power. (This isn’t an abstract “lawyers only” concern; three of our Supreme Court justices are likely to retire during this next presidential term, and the first appointee would seal the fate of Roe v. Wade and maybe even Hamadi v. Rumsfeld, which gave Guantanamo Bay detainees back their right to sue for their freedom, and which McCain called the worst Supreme Court decision he could recall.)

On a more cynical note, I’m relieved that those damned political ads will disappear from my TV, my radio, and the internet! :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s proud day for America, and we have had too few of those over the last decade. I’m proud that the right man won, proud that my often willfully ignorant country had a brilliant moment of clarity, proud that we will have a President who values decency, dignity, sophistication, SCIENCE! (about freaking time!), humility and quiet, thoughtful strength.

As a writer, though, I am inspired most by President Elect Obama’s professionalism and discipline. He was lampooned by this country’s right wing as an elitist, a dilettante, an arugula-fed (rocket-fed?) creature of salons and cocktail parties. He is not those things. Barack Obama personifies the work ethic of his adopted Chicago: he beat the baleful, mendacious Republican machine because he out-worked them, out-thought them, out-punched them. It Obama’s gift that he can inspire others to go and do likewise. He makes me want to be a better man. He makes me want to be better at my job.

Let’s all go work.

If you look at his biography, that’s exactly what you’re hearing. Harvard Law meets Chicago’s black churches.

He’s sure easier to listen to than the current illiterate-in-chief.

Katherine

Thank you very much, mesdames and gentlemen, voters of yesterday’s poll. The eight-year long nightmare is over. Welcome back, America!

Paolo

An interesting piece. Thanks Katherine. Jon the Speechwriter. :slight_smile: Good for him!

And congratulations to Americans on the process. It seemed to me that it did its proper democratic job of exposing the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates whilst enthusing the electorate. Many times in past campaigns we’ve heard people say that all good candidates were scared away, that the contest was too long and too boring or that the electorate was apathetic. Much less so this time, I think.

I am, of course delighted by the results. I realised last night, during the speech, that for the first time in a very long time I didn’t internally cringe when I thought of myself as an American. I think the thing that has been the most encouraging to me this morning is the international response; to read the flood of people cheering; I heard some place in Ireland had fireworks last night when it was announced; Kenya declared Thursday a national holiday. It all hit me at once, when I recall Jesse Jackson in tears last night. We all did something big yesterday.

Sure, I am sceptical, too. I’ve been through too much crap to be anything but. Sure, I don’t agree with all of Obama’s ideologies—unlike him, I actually am a socialist. But as I listened to his speech, and felt that strange sensation you get when you know the Stuff going on around you will be talked about for many decades, I realised that this could be a turning point for not only this country, but our world. As another said, to have a leader who doesn’t reject science and who understands the importance of this period in time from a standpoint of where this civilisation needs to go to survive, that’s crucial.

So I am sceptical on the details, but I am positively optimistic on the generalities.

I thought this was appropriate.

The story in Time describes a team of writers, a head and three assistants. That’s about average for a busy public figure. Their methods are informal: brainstorm with the boss, let him dictate ideas, lines, useful tropes; then the team writes and polishes a draft for the boss to review and revise.

Not many good writers reach the White House: Jefferson, Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, and possibly JFK, though he got much help from Ted Sorenson. I’ve read both of Obama’s books and thought they were excellent. The first one, Dreams from my Father, deserves a high place in the literature of autobiography.

PS: to those who are welcoming America “back”: both the 2000 and 2004 elections were quite close. Many of us never left and have been aching to send The Current Occupant home to Texas.

That’s a good point Druid, and it also important to remember that the half that voted for Bush was composed of only the half that even voted at all. So really, only a quarter of the nation felt Bush was the right president enough to vote for him. This election is thus important because voter turnout was so high, and the win was decisive. If it had been another 50% of 50% and a slight win for Obama, I think the overall feeling that is going on right now would be different. It would still be the same win, but it wouldn’t have the same magnitude. The level of the win signifies that few Americans were content to just sit about and let things happen as they will—and I think that, combined with the choice the people made—is what has people excited all over the world.

I agree with all comments! I’m in California, but back in Portland, the city erupted with excitement over the election. My husband called me throughout the night and I could hear the yelling and shouting and drumming and excitement. Very cool. Here in California, I gathered with a group of friends (we are all here doing a yoga intensive) and we watched it all together. What a great night! I hope we have redeemed ourselves in the eyes of the world! Amber makes a good point, but still, the last two elections really made us look like idiots, at least in my mind!!!

Go Obama!!!

Alexandria

Yes, it was quite a party in ultra-blue Portland last night. I was biking home from a victory dinner at a downtown restaurant late last night, and clusters of people kept grinning, waving, and shouting (“O-BA-MA!”), ringing their bike bells, etc.Of course, after the Republicans spent the last decade wrecking the economy, the environment, and our international image, Obama has a lot of cleaning up to do. If only the rest of the country had listened to us in 2000 and 2004. But it was nice to feel proud of my country (and state – Oregon went for Obama in a landslide) again for the first time in a long time.

A joyous day! My husband and I were watching the results and when the polls closed in CA, the network news (I think it was ABC) announced that Obama had won, we were cheering and clapping, and then we heard booming outside. It took us a moment, then we grinned at each other - fireworks!

Our dark, dark time is almost over.

Ho-hum. Seeing the joy of the US-citizens is really … interesting. And very much an alien thing.

I do wonder what would be necessary to get a likewise reaction out of my fellow germans? I assume that we, as a society, are beyond open emotional expressiveness. Maybe not beyond, more like being lobotomised.

Now, anyway, to quote one of my favourite Emperors: Let’s see what happens.