One Day Later

I woke up this morning and it hit me all over again: Barack Obama is the President-elect of the United States.

I can’t get over how wonderful it feels.

I keep having to remind myself that it’s not just the end of a campaign, but a new beginning of something else. We’ve just concluded a two-year epic saga, in which one of the main characters was Barack Obama. But it’s not like getting to the last page of a book, where you put it down and never think about it again. No — we’re at just the beginning! This has all been just prelude! It’s like we’ve just finished The Hobbit and we’re about to start reading The Lord of the Rings.

When I’ve hoped and thought about Barack Obama being president recently, it’s not just the Big Idea of it, but the little images that have come into my mind:

  • President Obama giving the State of the Union every year, with Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi standing behind him.
  • President Obama walking across the White House Lawn to Marine One, then turning around to give a salute before ascending the steps of the helicopter.
  • President Obama and the leader of another country sitting together in fancy chairs in the Oval Office, while photographers click away.
  • TV reporters referring to him as “the President,” without even having to use his real name. “The President announced today…” or, “Norah O’Donnell, NBC News, with the President.”

Really, I feel like we’re at the beginning of a remake of The West Wing.

And I love this article about the new First Family.

Obama will make mistakes. He has difficult decisions ahead. Our country’s in the toilet. And day-to-day governance is messy, with its daily news cycles, the messy legislative process, wins and losses, Washington sniping, political roundtables on TV. Poetry gives way to prose. In the euphoria of his election and inauguration, Bill Clinton talked about changing the culture of Washington. So did George W. Bush. It never happened.

There will be times I disagree with President Obama, get annoyed at him, disappointed in him. There will be times when the public does as well.

But this is an extraordinary man. And if things are even a smidgen better than they’ve been for the last eight years, we’re in luck.

On Tuesday night, as Obama was speaking in Chicago, I turned to Matt and said, “We’ll finally have a president again who knows how to speak.”

That alone is reason to rejoice.