Tonight I went out to celebrate Obama’s victory, and the end of an administration that history has already judged as a failure in so many ways. As an American living abroad, no failure has hurt me more than America’s loss of esteem in the world’s eyes. Why did I feel I needed to slap Canadian labels on my luggage all these years? Why have I been so embarrased to let people know I’m American?
But tonight, it finally hit me what today’s election meant to our country — and to me — when I overheard a young woman raise her glass and toast proudly, “I’m an American!” Tomorrow, I’ll go back to being skeptical of “change” and critical of the new administration too (as always), but for now, it feels great to be an American. I am proud of the democratic process, proud of my fellow Americans, proud of Obama and his team, and proud of this moment in history.
And I’m not the only one. Here’s a video I took (endure the first 5 seconds of static please) of a spontaneous outpouring of patriotism that erupted on the rooftop of the Saddle in Sanlitun, a bar district in Beijing, so you can see for yourself what this means: