Itís only now, after the election is finally over, that itís possible to glimpse and almost grasp what a massively historical day and night this has been. I have such gratitude and admiration for the voters who came out in huge numbers, some of them under adverse conditions. They helped make history, and not just the kind of history that tells us weíve elected the first African-American president. Weíve also changed the history of the future and redirected the course this nation will take. It was needed, it was important, but it was not a foregone conclusion.
Itís a good day to be an American. Itís a good day for Ohio, that bellwether state where you never know whatís going to happen, even after it happens sometimes. Ohio came in early for Barack Obama, giving us the first confirmation that the election was going the way the polls have been predicting. Itís a good day for Florida, which has put to rest the shame of 2000 (but maybe still has some work to do on ballot design concepts).
Those two states, like Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, went to Bush last time and Obama this time. The blueness in those areas make the electoral map look much better, more like a national consensus and a diverse coalition of Americans who are ready for a new age and new hope. (And while weíre at it, hereís a shout-out to Indiana, that traditional Republican stronghold where the race is thrillingly too close to call tonight.)
The two candidates both gave conciliatory speeches tonight. John McCain was gracious in defeat, and the new president-elect warmly honored his opponentís service to his country. Obamaís speech showed why he was elected. He was inspirational and eloquent, calm and cautious, hopeful and encouraging. He made it clear to his supporters that this was a beginning, not an ending, and called on them to do the work necessary to fulfill the promise of the night. His presidency will bring more diversity and inclusiveness to Washington than weíve seen in a very long time, and thatís a very good thing.