It started in Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. The first clear evidence that McCain Palin hadn’t agitated and deceived middle America into voting against someone, something, anything but them. (Update: I know that’s a double negative, but then so are they.)
By the time Obama came to speak, he did precisely that. It was a hard-earned rhetorical ejaculation, sowing the final seeds of a presidential pregnancy. An obamagasm. He was all at once the front man, the gospel preacher, and the erudite impressario conjuring optimism from the ashes of Bush’s still-twitching political corpse.
We can only hope that what we witnessed was not the climax of a grand illusion, a sleight of hand conceived to trick a billion eyes into seeing what it they want, what they expect.
It felt magical in places, but there were no tricks. If President Obama is, like so many before him, a marionette, there were no strings in sight, not like the clumsy puppeteering of The Dick and Dubya Show.
Obama addresses his audience as adults, and looks like he means it. He’s good to his word: change we can believe in, enough at least to spend a few days wrapped up in the comfort of new ideas, new possibilities.
Nobody expects this honeymoon to last forever, or imagines that there aren’t seemingly insurmountable challenges ahead. With barely twenty-four hours passed you can already see some of Twitter’s more acerbic commentators choking on the Kool-Aid.
Most of them seems to be missing the point. These celebrations not predicated on the assumption that Obama will govern well, but informed by an intuitive sense that at least the guy on the other end of the rope isn’t going to let go, let alone cut it.
I think more than anything this is an outpouring of relief that the neocons are finally leaving the building, taking a dog-eared edition of the Bush Doctrine with them. This was a dangerous time for America. The terrifying fact of Dubya’s re-election in 2004 alone attests to that.
Whatever problems Obama faces in the next four years, whatever the manner or measure of his failures, an ideological balace has at least been restored, and a change of direction achieved.
I wish Hunter S. Thompson was alive to see the world get loaded on politics again, if only for one night. I’d love to know what he’d have made of this election. They just missed each other, Thompson leaping off the moving bus of history just before it pulled up in Illinois and Barack Obama climbed on, going one way to Washington.
The Good Doctor’s death was untimely in that respect, but history may yet record it as a famous protest vote, marking a true low-water mark for the warped and important values the former (almost) Mayor of Aspen, Colorado held dear. Thompson’s body was dying, but his brain was still turned on and tuned in, right up until it dropped out. (Well, was shot out. But you catch my drift.)
It is also a sad circumstance of history that Thompson never really got to see the internet become the kind of free-wheeling platform he would have effortlessly monopolised.
This revolution was not only televised, it was recorded and uploaded and played back time and time again by millions of people all over the world.
The Obama campaign embraced a wide array of emergent tech and social media, but the star of the show must be Youtube, already ubiquitous in many of our lives but now harnessed to match the evil machinations of master electoral strategist and neocon neuromancer Karl Rove.
History can now repeat itself ad infinitum, without being systemically distorted through the prism of monopolised media. We can watch it at our convenience, with our own eyes, making up our own minds.
How better then to mark the promise of change, than with a website bearing the same name?
At its heart this is a blog. The blog of a President-Elect. Twitter can tell you how instantly this has endeared him to the legion of outspoken and opinionated bloggers he pals around with, who have played their own interesting part in influencing the outcome of this election for the better.
For my part, I may have tried a few dirty tricks, but I think I kept my tongue in my cheek and my feet on the ground. I’ll keep gunning for Obama, and I’m sure politics will become more of an ongoing theme around here, but this is me signing off for Election ’08, and thanking anybody who’s still reading for sticking around.
Here’s a final treat courtesy of the unrelenting Onion News Network: