I am amazed. During the U.S. presidential campaign I haven’t been a European Obama supporter, nor am I one now, though I have always appreciated his ever-present composure, and above all the fact that, in a way, his unwavering “belief in change” is all about the American Dream being once again every American's dream. That belief and that composure are probably the core of his victory speech itself (see my previous post), in a triumph of sobriety and restrained emotion.
What amazes me are two—very interrelated—things. The first is what the Americans have done and demonstrated yesterday, namely what the new president of the United States has plainly summarized at the beginning of his victory speech:
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where any things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive ... who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright - 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.
Perhaps never truer words were spoken by a politician. America is still the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. The U.S. is still the country of the second chance, of opportunity for all, included millions of people around the world who hope for a better future for them and their children.
I am also amazed by the words the defeated candidate pronounced in his concession speech (see my other previous post):
This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.
I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too.
But we both recognize that, though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation's reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.
A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters.
America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States.
Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.
I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.
Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.
I must say that, as a European and a true friend of the United States of America as well, I share with president Obama one more firm belief, that this victory is not so much his victory as that of the American people: “I will never forget—he said tonight—who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.”
Good luck, Mr. President, and may God bless your Great Country.