I awoke this morning in Paris, to text messages from European, Canadian, and other friends, expressing their deep joy that Obama had been elected.
This election was an international one, and we Americans have sent a strong message to the entire planet that we not only want change, but that we can and have taken back our country, and put it back on the road to true democracy.
After months of hearing about friends in the US who said they would leave the country if McCain was elected, I am now hearing about Americans abroad who want to return home to the United States of America. A brighter future is indeed possible. But I think it took the deep destruction of our image abroad and the economy at home, for many Americans to wake up and do what they did yesterday, and in the year previous. Bush had to go as far as he did to really make us fed up and angry enough to say "Enough is enough!"
I pray that we all remember this amazing event, and what it took to make it happen, that we never fall back into the years of denial and fear. My country was never about that. The good ole boys are no longer in control. Optimism and progressive possibilities can bring out the best in who we are.
I cried as I filled out my absentee ballot. I asked my daughter to come watch me fill out the form. A friend visiting from the US took a photograph. I told everyone in line at the post office what it was I was mailing that day. The experience itself of finally voting for someone I believed in, for the future of my country, for what we really stand for, was one of the most moving experiences I have known.
For an expat who has been missing a home which seemed to no longer exist under Bush, I was so proud to see my fellow Americans waiting in those lines, so profoundly moved by the images of African Americans owning America in a way they had only dreamed of before.
As a single mother, of a child with parents from two nationalities, who has raised her daughter abroad as well as in the US, to know that Obama can become president, that his life experiences will help him serve in a way which means reaching out to the rest of the world, in a personal triumph. I know Obama's grandmother is up there smiling down on him today!
Thank you to everyone who made this happen! Thank you for helping create a better future for our children!
Follow Vivian Norris de Montaigu on Twitter: www.twitter.com/vivigive