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Hail to the chief, President Barack Hussein Obama

Dear planet, at last! I can’t believe that from now on when we are talking about the United States and we say “the president,” we are referring to the superb, the sublime Barack Obama.  

It’s 9 p.m. and I am finally tearing myself away from the television. What a great day. I started cooking sausages, bacon, eggs and quiche, laying out muffins, croissants, bagels, lox and cream cheese and sticking Prosecco in snowbanks at nine. Wayson and his dear friend Angela arrived at ten – Angela is an American potter, especially grateful for the day – and others a bit later. We sat in front of the T.V. and ate and drank champagne for hours. 
We loved the lively little girls, loved Michelle’s sparkly dress and coat (though I thought her false eyelashes were driving her crazy and were a mistake for such a gorgeous woman); we loved Aretha and the poet – what pressure, for someone who usually sits alone in a room! – and the crowds. The overwhelming joy of the day. 
But mostly, we loved Barack’s speech and his smile, his dignified aura, awareness and presence. The fact that he closed his eyes and listened to the music, to the prayers and the poem. That in his speech after lunch, he specifically thanked the waitstaff, aware, he said, of how difficult it must be to serve a room full of politicians. My daughter who has been waitstaff, and my son who still is, appreciated this thoughtfulness. The fact that when Ted Kennedy went down, Obama immediately went to see what was wrong. That in his speech he managed to slam Bush and his cronies directly and yet subtly, and make sure it was clear that everything will be different from now on. 
And that Bush and Laura and John McCain were treated with such dignity and care. My group here were not so nice; the moment Bush’s helicopter lifted off was the moment of our greatest celebration. The words “son of a bitch” and “never see your face again” were heard, yes they were. We are not great-spirited people. And what we said about poor old Cheney the crook in his wheelchair will go unmentioned. And the Republican interviewed after lunch, the one who blocked Hillary Clinton’s nomination today just because he could. A guy from the old days.
We mostly watched CNN, but when we switched to CBC Newsworld or CTV, the coverage suddenly changed – we were watching people from around the world give their commentary on the day. Whereas CNN, all day long as far as I could see, had only Americans yammering on. 
It’s hard to believe today really happened not only because Barack is half-black, but because he’s intelligent and open, literate and generous, good-hearted, youthful, fine. How is it possible that we have gone from eight years of depraved darkness to this brand new hope and air and light, practically overnight? From the worst of human nature to the best?
Well, we have. Tomorrow the dreadful load crashes onto the man’s shoulders.  I who do not pray … well, I’ve said that before. Keep him safe and strong, O lord. Let him not lose that optimistic spirit on the long road ahead. 
And may the calm clarity of his peacemaking nature spread to leaders everywhere.  To his neighbour politicians to the north, even.
Bravo to you, Barack, and thank you. We are grateful beyond measure that you are willing to take this, take us on. 
 

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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