Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A president we can be proud of

By Nancy Jane Moore

My friends Mark and Mary Gayle and I started to believe that Barack Obama might actually win this election when MSNBC told us he'd carried Ohio. But his electoral vote count stayed at 207 for about an hour and nothing seemed to be happening, so we switched over to Comedy Central to see what Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had to say.

They were clowning around, occasionally interviewing some people (like Charles Ogletree of Harvard Law School, who was pretty damn funny for a law professor), and then the clock ticked over to 10:01 PM (CST) and Jon Stewart suddenly had an important -- and real -- announcement: "Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States."

Obviously every news outlet -- even The Daily Show -- was just waiting for the polls to close on the West Coast.

We confirmed things on MSNBC, made a quick check of Fox News, just to be sure, and then broke out the champagne and waited for the speeches.

McCain's concession speech was decent enough to remind me that in the past he'd had the reputation of being a more honorable man than his campaign suggested. But mostly I was just glad to know that it was the last word I'd have to hear from him for some time to come.

And then Obama made the kind of speech you want to hear from a president and I was moved. I wasn't just happy because I voted for him, or because I agree with him on many (though not all) of the issues before us or even just because it means Bush will soon be gone. I was deeply moved because he speaks so well and with so much depth and substance, and because his speech reflects an intelligent man who gives great thought to what he says and does.

And his victory reflects a man who knows how to bring the right people together to get the job done.

It occurs to me that for once in my lifetime, I might have a government that I can be proud of, one that at least reaches for the idealism that we were all taught about in high school while being competently run.

I was, in fact, so moved that I suddenly had the desire to go to Obama's inauguration.

You should know that I recently moved back to Austin, Texas, so going to the inauguration is a lot harder than it was when I lived in Washington, where I could just hop on the subway.

You should also know that as near as I can remember, it's always cold as hell in Washington on Inauguration Day. And I really hate large crowds. And it's easier to see and hear what's going on if you watch the swearing in on television.

In fact, I lived in Washington, D.C., for 28 years and never -- ever -- went to see the president inaugurated. Not even Bill Clinton.

But you know, I'm actually thinking about going.

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