welcome to the world

Welcome to the world, Mister Stavro Evangelo, man about the networked town, born six days ago and already worldly:

That’s the cool look you’ll be giving VC investors when you ask for your first three million to fund a startup, just like your daddy. Also, with the ladies, who will be impressed with your bilingual sophistication. All that is missing is the cigar. (This innate sense of style comes, I suspect, in large part from having parents so cool that your mom is still doing nanowrimo this month, despite giving birth a week ago).

You may have been born in Canada, but it’s still true you’re being born into a better political world than any of us really might have imagined a few weeks ago. (We were hoping, it’s true, but the reality still seems new and fragile, a newborn itself). Not that anything has been done yet, mind, since Obama was elected; and not that one man can change a crumbling country overnight. But the difference is what this election inspired; parties in the streets in the cities, quiet jubiliation in living rooms across the land, and for me, dozens and dozens of messages from my friends abroad — people are so thrilled that we didn’t fuck this one up. Last Tuesday, the eight people I had over to my house and I sat in silence, drinks and forgotten dinners in hand, watching that acceptance speech in Grant Park, and there were no words except what my new friend said: this is redemption.

Who knows what sort of administration or president President-Elect Obama will be; a thoughtful, careful centrist will be good enough, and if he can pull off simply not making the mess we’re in worse that will also be enough. But I know that through the mere act of an election something did change: for a generation, for a world. I do not think this is all hyperbole. I know there are people who are disappointed; my cousins in Oklahoma voted for McCain, and it’s true as I have written before that I do not think he is all bad. But the election of this outsider, this guy who looks like us and who is from the cities of a couple of continents and who has a first-class mind — I have never seen a politician before in this country who inspired people to sing and dance in the streets, to stand in their doorways and churches weeping. I have never seen a politician before who inspired this sort of devotion. I believe that it is called being a leader, and that is something that my generation has been hitherto unfamiliar with in the highest offices in this land. The idea of actually being led by one is still new and transcendent.

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