Full Circle

All good stories have beginning, middles, and ends. This blog first mentioned Barack Obama on July 6, 2007, when I suggested the candidate hire Keith Olbermann as a speechwriter. The discussion heated up in the primaries (the post I made after Hillary's win in Texas and Ohio received the most comments of any non-HP-related post here ever), and returned in these last two months before the general election, culminating in my attempt at a St. Crispin's Day speech* below.

The climax, of course, happened off-blog on Tuesday night, and for me and for most New Yorkers, it was pretty fantastic. I spent the evening in Rockefeller Center with James, Melissa, and several other good HP people; you can read Melissa's account of the countdown here. That night and the release of Deathly Hallows will stand as my two most magical all-New York nights ever -- the biggest excitement, the biggest relief, the happiest.

Quickly followed by sobriety, because even before Barack's speech was over, he had called for service and sacrifice, and you could see in his face the weight of the last two years and the worry of the next four. But there was a kind of relief in that too -- for we, the people at least: the relief of leaving behind old, unbound, selfish ways and taking up a common purpose, which might not be easy, but which will have the honor of work and discipline if we can do it. One blogger I read somewhere pointed out that the natural place to channel the energy of both Obama's and McCain's legion of volunteers was into a national service program: If we could all give an hour a week to make calls for or blog about a political campaign, why couldn't we spend that same hour now at a local soup kitchen? If I could take a weekend to go to Pennsylvania for Barack, why couldn't I take another weekend for Habitat for Humanity? I don't have a good answer for why not, and so I hope to try to keep that energy going in my own life, if at a rather lower degree of insanity than this campaign caused in me.

So this is my last Barack Obama election post until 2012 -- a happy end for now, and a hopeful resolve going forward, into our new beginning in January 2009 and beyond.

* Man, what's happened to Kenneth Branagh in the last decade? It's like God said, "You divorced Emma Thompson? You fool! You shall be punished! Here's a role in Wild Wild West."