November 5th, 2008

obama.jpgAt 10:59 tonight, the crowd 29-stories below my office window began counting down as if it was New Years Eve.

At 11:00, Charlie Gibson called California for Barack Obama, then projected his victory. Which is when the cheering began.

Over two hours later, they’re still cheering.

My mother still talks about shaking President John F. Kennedy’s hand when she was a teenager.

In February, I traveled with my colleagues to Scranton, Pennsylvania, to meet Barack Obama. He was articulate, compassionate, and poised. He was congenial, collected and cool. He spoke in language I could respond to: about finding common ground, not difference. And on the way out of his interview, he shook my hand. It was small and coarse. The exchange was brief. But I was thrilled.

The campaign grew increasingly dirty in the intervening months, but Obama remained above the fray. He stayed on message: inclusion, compassion, and hope — values he reinforced again tonight.

Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

Some of my favorite stories begin with yes.

John Lennon met Yoko Ono at her Indica Gallery art opening in London when he climbed a ladder and through a magnifying glass read the one word she had written on the gallery’s ceiling: YES.

“At least” Lennon later recalled, “her message was positive.”

Years later, I dropped to one knee just a few hundred feet from Strawberry Fields and asked Abbi to marry me.

She said yes.


Tonight, then, we begin another love story. One sure to be full of joy and loss, hope and despair, hills and valleys.

Forever more, I will remember where I was when it all began. Forever more, I will remember the instant when this country seized the reins. Forever more, I will remember the instant when we voted for our better selves. Forever more, I will remember when we stood together, and said resoundingly, “Yes.”

6 Responses to “Yes”

  1. kathryn browne  Says:

    thanks! this is a beautiful thing–beyond words. thanks!

  2. John Liu  Says:

    No matter which side of the fence you sit on, there can be no doubt about the historical magnitude of Obama’s election.

    One day, I can say to my grandkids, “I lived in those times…”



  4. Tricia  Says:

    “it started in the backyards of des moines”. very proud of the home state and nation.

  5. Linda  Says:

    For the first time in my life, I got choked up walking into the polls yesterday. I’ve been voting for over 30 years. I didn’t really understand until I started digesting the wonderful results, the news coverage and the coverage of the coverage, This campaign and election have been historic, uplifting and inspiring. I didn’t realize how much we need this positive shot in the arm. Through all the coverage I liked the NBC team’s tribute to a man I’ve missed most in this campaign, Tim Russert. As he would say, “what a country!”

  6. Benjamin  Says:

    Indeed, what a country! I wish it weren’t such a historic moment. That is, that we’d delivered on the promise of our constitution decades — heck, centuries — ago. As long as we hadn’t though, now was better than later. And was certainly moving and inspiring.

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