Wednesday, November 05, 2008

spes vicit timorem

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.


Sandalstraps said...

Hope did in fact conquer fear in the presidential election, and I celebrate that. However, fear prevailed in the ballot initiatives, and that bums me out.

cowboyangel said...

Very nice post. Like the reporting on your experiences.

Yes, my country made me proud. I still can't quite believe that we, as a people, could accomplish this. Hope did conquer fear.

But "Suck it Harvard!" Really, this is the kind of divisiveness that we've moved beyond in this new post-partisan world. Everybody is supposed to be nice to each other. I even smiled at the guy who cut me off in traffic this morning as I shot him the finger.

And O did get his law degree from Harvard. He only transferred to Columbia for his B.A.


How late did you stay up, in the end? I actually turned the TV back on for a few minutes, hoping they would call NC for Obama. But, no, of course not.

Liam said...


Sadly, you're right.

Fellow commentators -- check out the video on Sandalstraps' site -- it's right on and very funny.

Liam said...

Anyone can get a graduate degree from Harvard -- Bush did.

It takes more than that to graduate from Columbia.

Hell, I wasn't even accepted to Columbia (as an undergraduate).

Liam said...

I think we were up till about 2:00. Slow day today.

crystal said...

Me tto, proud of America for a change :)

I wish prop 8 had gone down to defeat, though.

Garpu said...

I think the whole country is in a bit of an emotional hangover today.

Prop. 8 winning is sad, but I think things are changing. There are a lot more people openly calling it for the bigotry it is than there were 4 years ago.

Jeff said...

Hey, Obama did more than just grad work at Harvard. He was the editor of the Law Review. :-D

When they said he'd locked up Penn, I had a feeling he was home free, but it was driving me crazy, because even though they were calling Penn for Obama, none of the networks I was flipping back-and-forth between were showing any numbers.

While I appreciate the huge breakthrough on racial progress, I do think the press has made too much of race today as a deciding factor. I saw a post on the Daily Kos today quoting Paul Krugman's blog that pretty much sums it up. The voters were replacing people who'd behaved like monsters for the last 8 years and beyond.

KcM said...

Well, speaking as someone with both Harvard and Columbia degrees, I'm very happy to have a president with both Harvard and Columbia degrees.

Besides, the correct response Tuesday night, as per GWB and his kind, was "Suck it Yale!"

In fact, except for those days when you find yourself near the Princeton environs, that is always the correct response.

Ted said...

Well, both Roosevelts attended Columbia Law School, but left before graduation.
That's a great photo, Liam; we were cheering in our front yard here in L.A.

cowboyangel said...

Besides, the correct response Tuesday night, as per GWB and his kind, was "Suck it Yale!"

Ha! :-)

Rashed said...

Congratulations, America!

My wife, Katie, voted for Obama by absentee ballot in Ohio from Montreal.

Although, not being an American, I couldn't vote, it makes me proud that not only the United States as a whole voted for Obama, but that, in particular, Katie's home county in Ohio, as well as the county in Iowa where I used to live, voted for him.

I'm expecting a lot of things from him, as is everyone else, but the thing I hope for the most out of an Obama presidency is, finally, a comprehensive peace accord between Israel and a future Palestinian state.