I have never been so nervous about any election as I have been about this one.
Last night, after Requiem and I watched an hour and a half of Threevening, we settled down in front of CNN to watch as the projections were called. I fell asleep somewhere around the time the polls closed in the midwest in my nest of pillows in front of the couch, but it was already looking good, with a bit less than a dozen states already projected for Obama. Requiem woke me up near 1am to finally go to bed. The first question out of my sleep-addled and half-awake brain was, "Who won?"
This election meant more to me than the recent PM election we held here in Canada. My husband is American. My boys qualify for (and will get if it's the last thing I do) their dual Canadian/American citizenship. My step-daughter lives in Alabama with my mother-, grandmother- and little brother-in-law. Most of my closest friends are American. One of them just bought a house and is in limbo as to whether or not he's going to lose it since the financial crisis. Another of my friends is a member of the National Guard and spent a year in Afghanistan not long ago and may be deployed there again within the next couple of years. I have spent years in the States, living in Florida and New Mexico, and visiting another half a dozen states in between. Canada is my home, but I love America like a second home.
I'm liberal by nature, but I come from a country where "liberal" is the name of a major political party and not a potentially career-damning label. I don't mind admitting that I lean towards certain aspects of socialism either; Canada has many socialist-inspired programs such as our national health care system, and our Canada Child Tax Benefit and Universal Child Care Benefit, which grants families money every month to help alleviate the costs of rearing children. So when Obama suggests and offers programs or incentives that have some socialist aspects, they make sense to me. If I could have voted in the election, if I had the right and the responsibility to vote in this election, my vote would have been for Obama.
And I don't vote.
I don't think he has all the answers, and I have a feeling that the hard part of being the 44th president of the United States is only now beginning. It's a long hard road ahead, perhaps harder than the roads many other president-elects have ever had to walk. But out of the two candidates, he was the calm, rational, presidential one in my eyes. He held himself with humility, grace and dignity, and that's how a president should behave.
Given McCain's behaviour over the last few months of the campaign, I was surprised and pleased to listen to his concession speech early this morning on CNN.com. McCain looked tired, weary and, as Requiem put it, "like someone had just kicked him in the gut"... yet his speech was full of as much dignity, grace and class as Obama has ever shown. One particular line that impressed me and gave me a whole lot of hope: "Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant." His promise to his supporters, that he will help Obama lead the United States to the best of his ability, I sincerely hope he holds in good faith.
I don't care if Obama is not inaugerated until the 20th of January and that he has no executive power as yet. For Requiem and myself, and our two sons, we're already celebrating his presidency.