When Barak Obama was declared the victor in this long, arduous contest to become our nation's president, I looked at my granddaughter, jumping up and down, in the midst of a room full of weeping, adults and shouting 'Obama', 'Obama'!
I held that memory, later on that night when I was shedding tears looking at the rerun of President-elect Obama's victory speech and wondered, 'What will she think of her opportunities, four years from now; what will she think about them in eight years?'
Not that I'm predicting the outcome of the 2012 election , but looking at the sea of faces in Grant Park, that huge, multi-ethnic, multi-generational, gender diverse crowd staring in nearly silent, solemn wonder at what they had witnessed, was the true picture of our country's make-up representing the future that we can achieve. They were aware of the history we that had been made; proud of what it meant for themselves and others, and feeling an integral part of it. There cannot be any doubt that a new world of possibilities has been revealed.
There will be plenty of analysis of this campaign and what it means in the next months and years. I'm sure I'll join in on it, because this election and has implications for how we view and deal with poverty, immigration, ethnicity, faith, culture, wealth and other issues that drive our search for community.
But what's most important, to me, is that the results of this election shows our country, in spite of all our problems, is tired of being afraid: afraid of our future, afraid of one another, afraid of the rest of our world, afraid of our history, afraid of our own politics. This is a nation desperately in need of believing that we are capable of being bold in a way, which defies the habits of our history and the expectations and caricature of us by the rest of the world.
What we as a country proved last night, ironically, is the truth of what John McCain said in the last days of his campaign - a rhetorical flourish that I really liked: "We're not afraid of history; we make history!"
America collectively held its breath, wondering whether or not we could truly, boldly make history in a way that could shake up the world. And the answer came back resoundingly: "Yes We Can!"
I hope both my granddaughters remember that when they begin to think seriously about what they can become in the brand new world in which they live.