Yes, We Did

After an incredible two days in which I’ve slept for a grand total of two hours, I finally reach the end of the road.

It’s been a stunning moment, one which I think I feel I ought to acknowledge for historical purposes. This was the moment that America woke up and at last picked the candidate that wasn’t the folksiest, wasn’t the one trying to scare you into submission, but actually is articulate, intelligent and conducts himself with great dignity.

The speech Barack Obama gave this morning at 4am my time was, without doubt, the best speech I have ever heard in my life. It hit every note perfectly: soaring, inspirational rhetoric, with an exceptional narrative and even better, almost sermon-like refrain of “Yes, we can”. The resonance this speech will have throughout history should not be underestimated. Obama knows how good he is at this stuff, and always knows how to rise to the occasion. This time he knew this speech would be pored over by history students for centuries to come: so he made sure he left them something to remember him by!

Even if Obama ultimately struggles with the task at hand, and who wouldn’t with his unenviable in-tray, there is no doubt in my mind that he will always be able to find the right words at the right time to rally people to his cause and try to invoke some good faith.

I stayed up the whole night biting my fingernails. It wasn’t over until it was over. Which was basically when Ohio was called for Obama, and that was when I knew we were on the verge of something very special indeed. In the end, I was actually disappointed that Obama didn’t get more votes than he did, or come with longer coat tails (some Senate election results were a bit disappointing); it seems that turnout on the West Coast didn’t match the heights on the East Coast. And some Obama safe states (e.g. NY) didn’t feel the need to go all out and be part of the moment. I dunno about you, but if I lived in NY, even though I know the result for my state is a foregone conclusion, I would want to be able to say to my children and future generations that I was there casting my vote to change the course of American history.

In the end I could take no more and had to go to bed at 6:30am. I had a couple of hours sleep and got back to the computer to keep an eye on the results. I’m obsessive about this kind of thing. I just want more and more data. I thought to myself that it’s quite lucky I don’t have a job right now, or else I wouldn’t have been able to indulge so much in absorbing all the material surrounding this US election.

And what a fabulous election it has been. I’ve been following it all year, and following Obama himself since 2004, and now all of a sudden the election is over.

In its place is the beginning of the struggle. The hard work begins now for the USA. I can only dream that one day Britain will achieve a leader of the same caliber as Obama, one who creates a new movement and mobilises an entire apathetic generation from their slumber. Because I think that’s what we’re waiting for, but we can’t do it alone.

It really is a privilege to have witnessed the events of the past two days. I know I will never forget them. As “Yes, we can” morphs into “Yes, we did”, the election of Barack Obama will forever serve as a powerful lesson that together anything is possible.

Yes, we can. Yes, we will. Yes, we did.

Yes, we must.

The world is waiting.

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