I smiled and choked back happy tears more than a few times last night listening to President-Elect Barack Obama, but I also felt a bit sad. I kept wishing my toddler was older—maybe in junior high or high school—so she could understand why her mom was so moved by a man on television. Instead, my daughter was zonked in her bed dreaming about French fries and applesauce.
But someday, when she’s ready, she’ll learn about Obama from me, old news clips, and history books. And maybe, just maybe by then, this election, while still historic, won’t be as shocking anymore. Maybe Obama will go onto a second term. Or maybe a woman will steal a second run for the White House away from him. Nothing seems impossible anymore.
I wonder if Obama’s daughters—ages five and seven—can understand how their dad has captured the imagination of Americans and people around the world. Maybe by the end of his first term, the kids might be able to grasp what just happened, but for now their dad probably just feels like a rock star. A really big one. But like my daughter, they will someday understand what just happened. How voters of all ages, races—Democrats, Independents, and even some Republicans—sent the rest of the Red party packing. How many voters, despite their racial hang-ups, set them aside to cast their vote for the right candidate. How voters kept their promises and turned out in droves—forming lines around the block.
Will our problems disappear overnight? No way. The economy is in the toilet. The poor are struggling more than ever. And we are still fighting wars the majority of us either don’t support, understand, or just want to end. But now we have something we haven’t felt in years. Hope. Despite all the problems in this country, one thing is now crystal clear: all kids can really grow up to be President. It’s no longer just a fairy tale. Thank you, Mr. President-Elect, for showing us that dreams really do come true. Disneyland, anyone?