I figured out why I was so relieved tonight. It's because I have spent the last six years (that's when I realized how radical the Bush administration was) on pins and needles that we were going to lose America and do tremendous damage to the world. Bush could do something monumentally wrong at any moment. But even more important was that Cheney had so degraded the American system of government that for the first time in my life, I wondered if the idea of America would survive.
Would they fix the elections? Would they make up some fake emergency to stay in power? Would they find some nefarious way to make sure John McCain won the elections? Did the powers-that-be secretly control these things? Was our democracy real? These are all thoughts I would not have entertained eight years ago. I would have found them laughable. But after seeing what Cheney and Bush were willing to do in the last eight years, it seemed that nothing was beyond them.
But it didn't happen. What tremendous relief! And joy. America survives!
As Obama said in his victory speech, it's okay to dream again. For the rest of the world to believe again. The beacon of light is back. The shining city on the hill is back. We sent a loud and clear message to the rest of the world - you are all Americans again.
We docked the ship on shore. We're back to normal now. We can have our fights about domestic policy. We can disagree slightly on foreign policy. We can go back and forth on all the issues. But the constitution stands. Some crazy neo-cons won't convince an idiot president to start another reckless war. And we can all sleep well at night again.
The idea of a healthcare debate sounds so lovely to me. We have habeas corpus back. We have re-established the fundamental building blocks of Western civilization. We have our foundation underneath us. Now, let's go forward and fight, argue and disagree -- and be the country I know and love again.
America has come back home.