So That Just Happened

I’m exhausted, and I’m still in shock. Last night was like most of the cities in the country winning the World Series at the same time, and New York was no exception–horns and yelling up and down Broadway until at least 2:30 this morning. And watching the reactions from around the country–black college students collapsing in tears, white crowds cheering into cameras, and Jesse Jackson crying his eyes out–I was caught by surprise and overwhelmed by the feeling of the night. I had been looking at this election as a hiring process, and I had been almost exclusively focused on issues like competence and corruption, and as I saw Obama’s campaign execute flawlessly week after week, I was more and more impressed with him. But I was so focused on practical matters that I lost track of the powerful emotional and cultural issues building behind this campaign.

I went to bed last night with a black President Elect (and only a few years after South Africa managed that), and I still haven’t fully absorbed that. This morning I spoke to my brother about what this means for his son, my nephew. I had forgotten that, aside from what this means for others, it actually means something to me and my loved ones. We didn’t just elect the candidate most likely to respond effectively to the considerable challenges facing the next President. We elected a black man. Ain’t that some crazy shit?

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