He wasn't my candidate but he is my president.
I watched the election returns until after 11 pm Tuesday night. I didn't listen to concession speeches or victory speeches. I went to sleep, well aware of the fact that the morning would bring headline after headline about President-elect Barack Obama.
And I wasn't quite sure how I felt about that.
Obama's politics, as closely as I can tell, appear far too liberal for me. I don't know if that's absolutely true but throughout the campaign, based on everything I read and heard, it felt true to me. I didn't vote for him for that reason.
But my guy lost. John McCain was the inevitable victim of our current president's abysmal reputation and non-popularity. He was the fall guy for a tanking economy, despite the fact that this financial crisis is a bi-partisan travesty. No matter - those two strikes counted for three and he was out.
But here's the thing. Tuesday night, before I went to sleep, I discussed with my teenage sons that the election was heading very strongly toward the democratic ticket and our nation was about to greet President Obama in the morning. Somewhere very deep inside, I felt a sense of - I'm not sure what - anticipation, comfort, resolution - for them and people in their generation. Maybe in their lifetimes, this historic election would become a footnote, and many years from tonight, they would tell their grandchildren how unusual this was; how much of big deal this was when the first black guy was elected president.
I had a moment late that night, and even more strongly in the morning, where I felt if not comfortable, then at least anticipatory about what was to come with an Obama presidency. Political inclinations aside, here's what I think I know about Obama: he's intelligent, appears to be someone who wants to be around other smart people, particularly if they challenge him, and he knows how to communicate, especially when he's addressing a crowd to deliver a message.
For me, the election ended in a heartbeat and all of the partisan politics felt like yesterday's news. It's time for our nation to support this man, about to take on an always challenging job in an extremely challenging time. Is he going to do an amazing job? A horrifying one? It's unanswerable. To Obama and the people who serve the country alongside him I say good luck and God bless.
He wasn't my candidate, but he is my president.