What do you say when the revolution is televised? The world has seen the celebrations in Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and in pubs and gathering places around the country and across the globe. What can I add to that? Just this: I was surprised at the surprise.
For months I have been following the polls closely, to the point of knowing , thanks to fivethirtyeight.com, which polls have a Democratic lean (e.g. PPP) or a Republican lean (e.g. Mason-Dixon), why there wasn't going to be a Bradley effect, what kind of inside straight McCain would need to eke out a win, etc. So I was confident that Barack would win. And I, and most pundits, and the candidates themselves, downplayed the effect of race on the race. Race may have played a role earlier in the contest, but by now it was all supposed to be about the economy, Iraq, Palin's lack of competence, McCain's erratic behavior, Bush fatigue.
And then, when the election was called, many people reacted with disbelief. And they celebrated. The celebrations were partly about the change in parties and policy, but they were mostly about something which has hardly been talked about. And so I was surprised at how much of John McCain's gracious concession speech centered on race.
And I realized how important it was to me to see the color barrier broken, to see a dream realized. For one night, all thoughts of President Bush, war, and the economic crisis faded as we entered a new world. The impossible has happened. I should have been surprised.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Caption: Colorado State University student, Mercedes Scott, looks in disbelief at the election results on her cell phone which shows Barack Obama the winner in the presidential race Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008, in the Black Student Services office on the CSU campus.
[photo and caption from the Coloradoan]