Take My Hand

Last night I watched our new President-Elect, Barack Obama, give his acceptance speech to a crowd of over 150,000 people gathered in Grant Park and millions more around the globe. I’ve been a strong Obama supporter from day one, but I really didn’t think I’d actually break down and cry. As Barack spoke to all of us, my mind raced and my heart slowed. I could feel the fear and anxiety that have been my constant companion for the last 20 months melt away.

Earlier in the evening I and a few friends exchanged tweets regarding just how nervous we were for Obama. When the news came that media outlets were calling the election in favor of Barack, I rejoiced but part of me didn’t believe it. The specter of loss sat next to me right up until John McCain gave his concession speech and quelled the boos of his supporters. In that moment McCain reclaimed much of what he had lost. I saw the man I had respected and admired break through the fear, uncertainty and doubt he and Palin had helped to sow. When McCain left the stage to return to his former life as an elder statesman from Arizona, it was then that I felt a wave of peace wash over me.

Like so many other Americans, I’ve been worried about Barack. Worried that harm would come to him. Worried that America wouldn’t step up and make the right choice. Worried that we would again choose the politics of fear instead of hope. All that worry had washed away as Obama took the stage in Chicago. Despite speaking from behind walls of 2 inch thick bulletproof glass, all I could see was the man. All I could hear were his words. He appealed to the “better angels of our nature” and reminded us that we have a steep climb in the days and years ahead.

Through all this I sat and listened. At the very end, after the on-stage goodbyes had finished, you could see Michelle hanging way back waiting for Barack. She was proud, but also calm. I saw myself in her and knew that her fear and anxiety had dissolved just as mine had. In this moment, she was all of us, waiting for him to take our hand. Barack walked to her and just then Michelle touched his face, gave him a kiss and they walked hand in hand into a new and hopeful future together.

That’s when I started crying.


  1. Well said. I think you described the feeling that a majority of Americans felt (and hopefully even some of those dyed in the wool republicans). 1.0 fear. 2.0 Hope!

  2. Wonderful post, and incredibly well put. I was moved to tears as well, but a little more early on… It hit me when CNN called it and I saw the video wall with the massive headline and picture.

    I’m really blown away by the praise and support from global leaders. I think it’s incredible that pretty much everyone has come forward with not just a canned “welcome to your new position” speech, but with words of heartfelt encouragement and hope.

    I’m not embarrassed to be an American right now, and that’s not something I’ve felt for a very long time.

  3. Crying? I think you would have cried either way. I think I predicted that.

    Invest in yourself, Ged. Not politicians. If a politician can make you cry, that’s scary.

  4. I was voting for the man that Mccain is, not so much the Republican party or compromises he has made in this election. I voted for Kerry before him in 2004 for similar reasons.

    I did not weep at Mccain’s loss, but I was disappointed. But the heart that I had hardened against Obama could not help but be softened by the events, and that has tempered my disappointment a little. I will not say that I cried, but perhaps my eyes grew a little misty as the significance and history of Obama’s achievement hit home, and as I witnessed the joyful reactions of people for whom this meant so much.

    Congratulations on Obama’s victory, Ged, my old friend, as you have fought the good fight and kept the faith for him like few others.

  5. I’m from the Netherlands and I cried as I watched the speech over morning coffee at work. Didn’t expect to get so emotionally involved, it seemed miles away and American politics hadn’t busied me much, yet when I saw the speech I realized how important this event really was and how this affects the entire world, and all of our futures.
    The stress relief was huge, with every word coming from Obama relieving the tension and the fear that has been hammered in over the past years. It was enchanting, like all hell is finally over, a man who dares to speak of the future as something we can create to our own liking, together. For a moment I felt like mommy finally came home, and everything’s gonna be alright again. I hid behind a 24″ iMac and wiped my tears before I got up for another cup.

  6. enjoy your limelight ged. real soon you and yours will be slapped back into reality.

    13:54 | 06/ 11/ 2008
    MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev could resign next year paving the way for his predecessor and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a Russian paper said on Thursday citing an unidentified Kremlin official.
    In his state of the nation address on Wednesday, Medvedev proposed extending the presidential term from four to six years, which Vedomosti said was part of an arrangement devised by first deputy head of the Kremlin staff Vladislav Surkov.
    The paper said, citing the Kremlin source that under the arrangement Putin’s successor needed to amend the Constitution to secure a longer term in office for Putin and to carry out unpopular social reforms. The source told the paper that Medvedev may resign citing changes to the Constitution, leading to presidential elections being held next year.
    Vedomosti said Putin could then rule for two six-year terms, from 2009 to 2021.
    “There are no reasons why Putin should not return as president next year as the current president’s term is not set to expire in 2009,” the premier’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told the paper.
    Another source close to the Kremlin quoted by the paper said Putin had already started his election campaign.
    The premier has launched a personal website and is expected to lay out his manifesto as leader of the ruling United Russia party at a congress in November, following which he will broadcast a video link with the nation, the practice he resorted to as president.
    Political analysts and business have been playing a guessing game since Medvedev’s election win in May trying to work out who is really in charge in Russia, the president or premier.
    A senior United Russia member quoted by the daily said the proposal to extend the presidential term, coupled with the increase in the parliamentary term to five years, was the beginning of constitutional reforms designed to turn Russia into a parliamentary republic.
    A source in the presidential administration said the amendments could be approved next year, the paper reported.

    and a little international perspective?

    remember the words? forgive them father, for they …….

  7. No idea what you are trying to say Jim. If you’re saying things are going to be challenging for the new President, yes, you are right. Russia is just one of a host of issues the next President will have to deal with. And your point is…?

  8. the point ged? he was followed blindly by a massive amount of people. none cared to ask who he was or where he’s been. it was more like american idol than a presidential election.
    but hey! your side won. congratulations. am i bitter? no, not really. mccain ever really had the support of the base. so its just as well.
    the point is ged that you were told but didn’t want to listen. thats all. who knows? maybe all the “naysayers”, including myself will be wrong. but there is a whole lot of evidence to the contrary. all you had to do was to look.
    i wish you and yours peace and prosperity.

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