…and we Canadians can finally get our lives – and our news channels – back.


this morning feels historic, even way up here north of the border. i fell asleep before the race was called last night, but i watched Obama’s acceptance speech on youtube this morning, and damned if there wasn’t a whole lot of sand in my eyes. i wept like a baby before i even got my morning coffee.

because Obama does represent hope and change, even to this white Canadian chick/woman. it’s not just the audacious, breathtaking fact that a man of colour is President-Elect of the most powerful nation in the world. it’s not just that he speaks eloquently and intelligently, and that he conducts himself with decency and calls for dialogue and cooperation between the partisan factions that have increasingly divided the continent over the past decade. those things are big, and they set an immediately and significantly different tone from what i’ve seen from south of the border before.

but for me, the tears came when he thanked his family. his patchwork family, with his grandmother at the centre.

Obama didn’t just overcome racial prejudice to rise to the pinnacle of visible power. he overcame his own – and my – generation’s antipathy towards “the broken home” and its products, us children of divorce in a time when divorce still carried stigma. he doesn’t have an American apple pie family, tidy and iconic. he has had to learn to love and forgive and accept people’s limitations in coming to terms with the word “family.” he has had to make his way without his father’s name and connections paving his path. he has had to work to exceed people’s expectations of what he appears to be, on paper. a small part of me sang in pride and vindication watching Obama this morning, because his family structure looks more like mine than i’m accustomed to seeing in the halls of power, on either side of the border.

i’ve heard him called elitist, during this campaign. and i howled with laughter, because to me he looks like the very model of a modern meritocracy in action…finally. he is not a scion, not the son of a dynasty. he’s achieved what he’s achieved based on intelligence and hard work and ambition and the love of an unconventional family, particularly a grandmother who taught him to believe in himself. he’s the American dream.

and this morning, just as millions of African-Americans looked at him and felt their horizons of possibility expand, just as people across the world looked at him and felt hope for leadership and healing, i looked at Barack Obama and felt all the whispers and pitying looks that dogged my childhood and my perceptions of myself go poof, invalidated finally and completely by a man who stands tall and proud and humble all at once and says “we can.”

how are YOU this morning? what are your hopes for Obama and his presidency? do you believe this is the beginning of a sea change…how?