Tonight as I watched the numbers come in, I was cautiously optimistic that there would be a big change — but I wasn’t fully convinced. And then I called my mom, and the numbers kept changing and moving forward, and I said to her, “Ma, did you ever in your life think you would see this day?” And she said emphatically, “No. I never thought I’d live to see this day.” And it surprised me because my mom is the most optimistic person that I know and it never occurred to me that this was something she was hoping for. Not just because it was a black candidate, but because it meant that anything was again possible in the United States of America.
I’m being black about his, I’m celebrating in my heart and I have screamed out of my window. I realized that for probably the first time in my life, in thinking about myself as an American, it occurred to me that this is really our arrival in the country that said everything was possible. We have finally become part of the fabric of the United States of America. This is just strictly speaking as a black person. It would be very difficult not to talk about the thrill of that part of it because 160 years have gone by and we have finally come to the place where we are ready for leaders and ready to look at leaders as men and women and perhaps not by their color. But it is the first time it has happened so folks should not be surprised that black folks are really, really happy about this.
On John McCain — whose speech was so beautiful, so brilliant, and so heartfelt, and so American. I wish that he had been that person throughout this campaign because that’s the John McCain that I respect and have always respected and had great joy about. I was thrilled at the way he handled himself but moreover how he handled the crowd who began to boo, and he said, “No, that’s not what it is. Tomorrow I wake up and I am in the service of my country.” It is an amazing and beautiful concession speech. Something we have not heard for such a long time.
The negativity that surrounded this campaign was extraordinary. But I do believe that somehow this young man, Barack Obama, is going to reach his arms out to the nation and embrace us as one, as the United States of America, the truly beautiful gem in the world, the great nation that we are. And he, I think, for now at least in this moment, has made us a better country, has made us a better people. And somehow the youth of America got it. And they dropped all their peripheral stuff that we always kvetch about them doing. They dropped all the BS and got out there and made their voices heard. And people now recognize that the youth of America is a force to be reckoned with. And when you look at these shining faces that look up and look at each other as not black or white or any of these things but as Americans, it is a sigh of a relief that I can’t remember having in such a long time. Whether you are a republican or a democrat or an independent tonight, I don’t think there was anyone in the country who didn’t realize that something magnificent happened. God bless us all, God bless America, the America that can be.