What moments to savour!
What moments to savour! 150,000 blissed-out Democrat supporters in Chicago's Grant Park; people openly crying for joy and perhaps sorrow for what had gone before; a sense of a people re-energised on that simple thing: Hope.
And then, those last speeches from President elect Barack Obama and John McCain, both letting their oratory soar and, in the process, lifting our spirits. Two politicians so disparate, differing in colour, in age, in outlook and values, came together - one to concede defeat, the other to accept high office and its challenges. They spoke with barely a pause, each with unforgettable lines which came from the heart - not speech notes.
In the televised debates they seemed such different creatures - cramped, cautious and, despite their differences, awfully polite. New Zealand Herald columnist Garth George loved this civility and wished it upon our contenders Helen Clark and John Key who he said had had 'slanging matches'. Well? It's election time!
In his column after the US elections he added: "…but that probably has a lot to do with the amateurism of our moderators compared with the immaculate professionalism of their American counterparts." If only, Garth. The televised debates in America are hardly a showcase for robust debate because they are conditioned by a Presidential Commission which sets in a hefty volume both parties' terms and conditions right down to stagecraft.
Here at least it's as courteous as needs be, given voters are being courted. By and large people have forgotten that rugged debates, putdowns, great one liners and heckling were all once part of political debates in the days before Spin. It's why those moments in Illinois and Arizona were truly memorable. We saw grace coupled with eloquence and generosity coming together to show that even in defeat losers can become winners; that winners only add to their glory of their achievements with humility and magnanimity. What moments.