Columbia University, 12:45 AM, Nov. 5, 2008.
The Latin phrase above was sent to me last night by my friend and colleague Steve after Obama won the election. "Hope conquers fear."
We voted yesterday around 4:00, since we wanted to wait until Filius imperatricis pulcherrima Africae occidentalis got out of school so he could accompany us to the polls. Then we settled down for a tense night with the TV and the laptop, as I flitted between a half dozen different websites and exchanged instant messages with William. Once Penn went, I started to relax. Ohio came through, and when the polls closed in California, we knew. I was in shock, Imperatrix pulcherrima Africae occidentalis was in tears. About 12:30 we went out for a walk. Crowds flowed up and down Broadway cheering and crying. We stepped on to campus where a group of people were jumping up and down, yelling and hugging. Sponteneous chants broke out. "O-ba-ma," of course, and varients of "Yes, we can" ("Yes, we did;" "yes, we could"), but also "de-mo-cra-cy!" and "U-S-A!" People sang the national anthem and "America the Beautiful."
One black student shouted, "Our first president! Suck it, Harvard!" (Obama graduated from Columbia).
This was a victory for Democrats, for blue Manhattan, for students and for African-Americans, yes, but it was more than that. It was a victory for our country. The McCain campaign made the choice clear -- unable to formulate any real vision for the country, they made it about fear of change and culture war and devisiveness, about race. Pennsylvannia and Ohio were not suppposed to vote for a black man. "Real" Virginia was not supposed to vote for a Democrat. North Carolina was supposed to re-elect their senator because of religious slurs. The United States of America said no, thank you.
My country made me proud last night. Spes vicit timorem.