As a nation, we've cried together in tragedy. But in my lifetime, I cannot remember an event or anything else that has brought so many people together in joy. Seeing thousands of people pouring into the streets spontaneously to celebrate, all over the world, seemed to embody the person and the message of Barack Obama.
So much emotion, so much history, so much at stake -- with a perfect ending. Four years after we re-elected George W. Bush, could there be a better signal to the world? Could any words speak louder than the picture of the Obama and Biden families gathered onstage?
Best of all was the surge of hope -- to feed a starving country. As if Obama took a fresh batch of cookies out of the oven, and the scent floated all over the world, impossible to resist. When the scent reached Arizona, John McCain responded with class, and the best speech of the whole campaign. Even his opponent sensed the feeling of destiny that surrounds Barack Obama.
Fate seemed to touch his very existence. The meeting of his parents was completely random -- an 18-year old white woman from Kansas meets a visiting Kenyan student in Hawaii. Seeing the picture of them, and knowing the brief life of their marriage, it seems clear they were not meant to be a couple. Looking back, you wonder whether fate brought these two people together for one reason and one reason only: to create Barack Obama.
Their story, his story, his election -- is so unlikely it wouldn't even be believable as a fairy tale. Maybe I've lived in California too long -- but I think the universe played its part to line up everything necessary for President Obama to happen. He plans a celebration party outdoors in Chicago in November -- and the temperature is 70 degrees?? That's not global warming; that's destiny.
Even the death of his grandmother seems fated. No matter how old or frail they are when they die, losing your parents is a rite of passage. It's a defining moment when the generations ahead of you are gone, and you step up into a new stage of life. So the extraordinary timing of Obama's loss struck me as almost eerie -- as if the universe sent him a message that this is his moment, his time of transition to step up into his future role -- not only within his family, but within his country.
The presidency is not only a privilege, but a burden. Obama wears it well but may have begun carrying it the moment he was declared the winner. By the time he stepped onto the stage at Grant Park, he already seemed different than we had seen him before; his body language and tone indicated that he was already shouldering the unimaginable responsibilities of the presidency. As if he has already taken on the burden that is his destiny. Fortunately for our country, his destiny is also ours.
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