Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The United States of America

Note: I am taking a small break from reporting about my last trip to France to say a few words about this election.

I have never been prouder to be an American.

The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency is an amazing event. No matter who you voted for, no matter what you think of him as a person or as a politician, you have to admit that this is a singular, momentous occasion for this nation: an African-American man will be the 44th President of the United States. Whether you're happy or not that he won, you have to admire how far this country has come.

Do we still have racial problems? Absolutely. Is there still much work to be done? Absolutely. And of course let's not forget the economic mess our "Masters of the Universe" drove us into, or the wasteful war in Iraq and the forgotten war in Afghanistan. There's lots of things to fix after 8 years of incompetence and corruption.

But Barack Obama's election reminds us, and the world (which, let's face it, has been watching with baited breath) that the United States of America is not just a country but an idea and an ideal. We might have gotten horribly distracted from it for the past eight years, but this election tells us that the ideal survives and thrives. It is one of hope, freedom, and the absolute faith in a person's ability to thrive and rise to the top with hard work and dedication.

Whatever his policies and views, Barack Obama's victory shows that we as a nation are willing to give anyone a chance. No matter the color of their skin.

I have never been prouder to be an American.

Of course, to celebrate, I popped a French Champagne, but I do have to be faithful to part of my heritage, non?

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