OMFG do you have any idea how huge this is?! HUGE, people. I know I should have posted about it as soon as I heard, but sadly I’m still preoccupied by such things as seminars, family visiting and the cold to spend as much time as I’d like in front of my computer, or in front of the tv to follow the coverage for that matter. But we made it! Barack H. Obama is president elect of the United States – and will finally move George Dubya Bush out of his seat five days after my birthday: January 20th. Couldn’t have hoped for a better present.
First, some numbers:
- Obama got 349 electoral votes (you need 270 to win), McCain (soon we’ll be going: who?) has 163. That’s sad for them. But it also points out the absurdity of an electoral college. If it weren’t for them, Gore would have won in 2000, since he had the majority of the popular vote. Speaking of which:
- Obama had 64,043,290 people vote for him (53%), McCain had 46 %. Obama is the first democrat to have over 50% of all votes since Carter (1977) and is also the first president from the senate since Kennedy (boy, what an original comparison…).
- I am proud to say that my home state of New Jersey also clearly went for Obama, as well as the democrats for the senate. You can see the map of the red / blue states and their number of electoral votes here.
- Obama won because of the so-called “minority votes” of african-americans, women and younger voters (almost all first-time voters picked him). McCain would only have won if it were solely up to white men over the age of 65 (this time I’m not joking). We sure showed them.
- It was a record turnout of voters. I can’t find exact statistics, but I do know that of the 200-some million eligible voters, at least half went to vote. That would be a record anywhere, mind you. It is a first that this president was chosen by the majority of the inhabitants of the country.
Second, the emotions. I cannot begin to describe what this means. To me, or to any of the millions of others who wished for this. Excitement, joy, relief, hope, anticipation, … Change is coming. Our chance is here. And for all of you trying to kill our buzz: do not tell me he is just another president. This is something different. If you can’t understand why we are getting so worked up about this victory, if you can’t understand the happiness – keep that to yourself. This is huge. I believe Obama was elected because he understands what he has to do. Yes, it is a historic moment because he is the first black president, and that is important and it stands for a lot. But that’s not all. I think he was elected because he wants to unify the country, because he speaks for many people and did not put his skin color forward. Because it shouldn’t matter. And now he proved that that is not the issue. He speaks intelligently. He is young and dynamic. He will bring health care and women’s rights. He cares about the working class, the middle class and the environment. As my sister put it: we can actually consider moving back to the states now. We don’t have to be ashamed, when we’re abroad, to say that we are Americans. It is a true shifting of consciousness – there couldn’t be anything bigger.
I could go on and on about the million of things rushing through my head right now, but I’d rather share. So, if you want to, start up the conversation with me. In the mean time, you can watch Obama’s inspiring speech in Chicago after the results – I actually teared up in the end, I am so glad.