Being hopeful is enough

I've never understood the attraction of Chronicle columns. Reading or writing them-it seems to me that both are overrated. But sometimes it's nice to have a chance to get on your soapbox, and that's what I'm going to do with the rest of this space. Thanks for tuning in.

I am just wildly, incredibly happy about the results of the election. I'm so thrilled to see the smiling faces of everyone I saw on campus today-from the preppiest undergrads to the Great Hall staff to professors to bus drivers.

Watching the results come in last night, I was doing alright for a while, but around the time John McCain came on to give a really gracious and beautiful concession speech, I started to tear up. I didn't cry continually all night, but every so often I welled up-listening to my dad telling stories about the 76-year-old he met canvassing, seeing Jesse Jackson crying, listening to Obama's speech.

I don't know why this would be a surprise; I cried in 2000, and again in 2004, but for different reasons.

But although most people around me weren't crying, I didn't feel at all strange. Everywhere around me, people watched the results coming in with the same feverish anticipation and watched Barack Obama's speech with the same rapture. Being from Ohio, the state that went red and won the 2004 election for George W. Bush, I still can't believe the Buckeye State pulled through for Obama.

And I'm a white, middle-class man, a member of our supposedly post-racial generation, but for some reason I was moved to tears partly by the fact that we were electing a man whose father was born in Kenya.

At this juncture, I should probably make some effort to explain why Obama is better for the arts-that he'll fund the arts better, or that he's inspired great art. But that song was kind of annoying.

More to the point, I'm saying the same things that everyone else has said. I'm not original at all; I'm just like every other young person, including you, dear reader. But the fact that we're all so enthused, so disbelieving and so absurdly, perhaps blindly, hopeful says enough.

Reagan didn't know what he was talking about. This is actually morning in America.


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