I now have more faith in my country than I ever thought possible.
I have said for several years that what we needed as president was a leader. Not a politician, or a negotiator, or a businessman, or whatever else a president might be - but a leader. Someone who would hold up a vision to inspire the nation, and then encourage us to get there. That to re-invigorate innovation, promote service, and generate real change - we needed someone who could make us see that a) it is possible, still and b) it is our job as individuals, to make it happen - not to rely on the government.
Kennedy was such a leader. Martin Luther King. Lincoln, and Susan B. Anthony.
But I didn't think I'd see such a leader anytime soon. A leader like that requires not only their particular skills and charisma, but the right atmosphere for their message to flourish. I simply didn't think things were bad enough for the public to be motivated in any significant way.
When I first heard Obama speak, knowing nothing about him but the small rumblings that he might run for president one day. I don't remember what he said, I just remember being impressed...but I did not think we were ready to elect a black man president. The more I learned about him, the less chance I thought he had. Bi-racial, African father, raised abroad, hippie mom. I thought his name alone would be his downfall. That his opponents would just have to say "Barak Hussein Obama" a few times, and that while there was little chance the majority of voters would vote for someone with an ethnic name, there was no way they would vote for someone with a muslim name - and not just any muslim name, but one specifically demonized and associated with the worst kind of despotism.
And they tried...
...but we got past it.
Mr. Obama got us past it, but we were ready to go there.
We turned out in record numbers. We got past race, past ethnicity, past the demonization of a name.
And I am so proud, right now, to be an American.