I heard the other night a young girl describe an interview she conducted with the then Senator Barack Obama. She was able to ask him lots of questions that her friend's wanted to know, like 'Do you like ice cream or pie? Deep-dish pizza or thin crust?'
One of her questions was, 'Do you like red states or blue?' to which Senator Obama replied, "I would make them all purple".
It reminded me of a favorite book I read as a child, Harold and the Purple Crayon (by Crockett Johnson). Harold had a purple crayon and with it he drew new worlds, imagined new lands, new people, new experiences. What Harold drew with his purple crayon became real and perhaps in some way, President-elect Obama is creating new worlds with his purple crayon. He has already drawn us a picture of what that world might look like; it's now a matter of time and continued effort to make it a reality.
Ecstatic is perhaps the best word to describe how I felt today and how I experienced the feelings of others in the aftermath of last night. One key part of ecstasy (whether induced by drugs, meditation, a religious experience, nature, a psychiatric illness (e.g. mania) or a brain tumor is the feeling that one has transcended the 'self-oriented' view of the world (what's good for me, bad for me) and experiences a sense of being part of something larger than oneself. This transcendent experience is what we saw last night in the eyes of so many people as they each, one by one, experienced the whole as much bigger than any one part. And the whole was not just our United States but the whole of the planet of people around the world.
The purple nation President-elect Obama created yesterday was seen as part of a larger purple people on a global purple planet.
As Harold used his purple crayon to build the worlds of his dreams, I believe so can we.
Follow Susan Smalley, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/suesmalley