May I be among the last to post the news of Barack Obama’s historic win? There were many moving moments over the past twelve hours; Senator McCain’s extraordinarily gracious and patriotic acknowledgement of defeat and pledge to serve being much to the fore. But the image that will stick in my mind is that of the Reverend Jesse Jackson amid that jubilant crowd in Chicago’s Grant Park, shedding tears of joy. Jackson was among the last men to talk to Martin Luther King on that fateful balcony of the Lorraine motel in Memphis forty years ago and few know better than he the long road that American democracy has followed to get to this point. His lucid views on all of that can be read here. And here, in Obama’s own words, is the challenge he now faces and the inspiration he brings:
‘Even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.
“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep… But America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.” ‘