12/06/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The World Breaths a Sigh of Relief as America's Light Goes Back On

I couldn't believe how many people told me I wasn't the only one waking up in the middle of the night last night, unable to sleep.

It's not that big of a stretch to speculate that all over the world, billions of people who were walking on eggshells worrying about the outcome of the election are now celebrating. Billions!

While America faces tough times economically, the world will embrace us, with billions of people with tears in their eyes, for bestowing upon a black man one of the greatest honors humanity can bestow upon a person - leadership of the most powerful nation.

America has become, again, a beacon, a light that illuminates and energizes the hopes of humanity, making what is best in us shine brighter.

Looking at the faces of the people in the crowd, as Barack Obama gives his first speech as president-elect, I see a hope that beams bright, a hope that does not stop at red or blue state borders or the border of the United States. The whole of humanity is sharing in this moment of hope. We had a moment of connection after 9/11. It was thrown away. But we have another chance now.

I get an instant message from a friend in Waziristan. He usually tells me about the latest bombings and US drone missile firings. He's thrilled that Obama has been elected -- believing there is new hope for democracy and an end to the terrorism he lives with every day. A message comes from Australia titled "Delirium in Sydney," and one from Riyad Saudi Arabia, saying "God Bless America."

Obama talks about bottom-up solutions to the economy, to democracy. Echoing that vision, he said last night, "Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where we work harder and look after each other . . . In this country we rise and fall as one nation, as one people."

He says, "The new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To all those who have wondered whether America's beacon still burns bright . . ."

And you see the sea of happy faces and know that all around the world, hearts are a little lighter.

A smart man, a man who chose helping the poor instead of becoming a wealthy lawyer, a man who has a vision of bringing people together will soon be leading America. He advises us to put our "hands on the arc of history and bend it once more to the hope for a better day."

David Axelrod related how, when Obama was considering running for president, he was asked what he could do to make a difference as president. Obama replied, "When I take the oath of office, the world will look at us differently and millions of kids will look at themselves differently."

There are hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of people who suddenly can believe that they can do anything . . . anything.

We can't bask in the glow of this victory tonight without appreciating the fact that the White House will again welcome a strong, brilliant, accomplished, powerful woman. This will also change the way hundreds of millions think about themselves. Michelle Obama brings so much to the White House.

And it seems so true, what Obama said, so modestly, yet so accurately, "I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you."

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