Carolyn and I were in Canada for the election. We saw it from the safety of a Russian themed bar called Pravda in Toronto, one of our favorites (the Chicken Kiev is amazing and Andrea the bartender is the best).
We watched on a projection screen as the results came in and the initial McCain victories were soon overwhelmed by a tide of… well… for once not being a land of morons.
We left once the electoral victory was inevitable and heard the results on the radio between Toronto and Guelph. We were happy but not surprised. We listened to people describing how happy they were, Canadian commentators speaking about how “The States” was now not a joke and might perhaps once again participate in the world’s stage as something other than belligerent idiots. It was good.
Now I have to admit a bit of wistfulness at the results. Not that I didn’t want Obama to win… but I’m sorry to see Palin go the way of Kathleen Harris. Palin is such a caricature of extreme white trash, of all that is idiotic and embarrassing in America: the Tonya Harding of Politics but with a body double for her sex tape. I’m sad that tonight Jon Stewart will be boring. That for the next eight (please) years the most ridiculous news will come from somewhere other than the white house. We could have had Palin there and every day would have been a delight of absurdity. I’d trade good leadership for comedy, but it is not an unmitigated win.
Today, on the way out of Canada, I saw something that demonstrated in a small way how monumental this moment of history really is. I followed a black American man through security screening. It was obvious he was used to being given a hard time for his color, for his culture. He expected it, reacted to the scan and the follow up as if it were part of the normal sweat inducing stress he had to live through every day. What broke his stride was when he collected his things after passing the secondary mass spectrograph screening and the Indian screener said to him as he turned away “Yay Obama!”
Across boarders, across centuries, across races this is a moment that renders irrelevant such trivialities as a global depression or wars.
It turned out the guy grew up about 20 blocks from me in Philadelphia. The world is interconnected and small and overnight the good people have a reason to be optimistic. Finally.
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