For reasons that, I have to admit, mystify me, we're about to elect Barack Obama president. He wouldn't be my first choice; neither would John McCain, but he's much closer to the top of the list. But if Obama is elected, I wish him all the best: may he have a peaceful and prosperous presidency. If he is elected, he will be my president (although the idea of a personal president is also somewhat baffling). If he is elected, I won't drive around with a bumper sticker that says, "1/20/12," although I might be tempted by a bumper sticker that says, "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Sarah."
If, like me, you believe that the United States is exceptional and if you agree with Chancellor Bismarck that God has a special providence for the United States, then we have to assume that electing Obama president is exceptional and not inconsistent with God's special providence until it is proven otherwise. We've prospered under Presidents much less intelligent and more wrong-headed than Senator Obama.
Finally, if, like me, you think that slavery is our original sin and the only distinctly American failing, then electing Senator Obama president has to be seen as a hopeful sign. Whatever hold socialism and political correctness have achieved in the United States they've achieved through the wounds opened by slavery. If electing Senator Obama president can help us close those wounds, then I cannot wholly regret his election.
I voted for John McCain and I hope he wins. I think a McCain presidency will be better for the nation than an Obama presidency. But I am not a leftist; I don't mistake my personal whims for universal truth and I accept that there are other explanations for history not walking my preferred path than the evil conspiracies of those who disagree with me.
We often say that the glory of the United States -- the heart of American exceptionalism -- is that ours is a nation built on an idea rather than on blood or conquest. The test of that idea is whether we can accept others as part of our nation based solely on whether they share our ideals, without regard to skin color or religion or country of origin. If we can't bring ourselves to include anyone as one of "us" if he believes what we believe and chooses to join us, then the American idea has failed.
Senator Obama is an American and, if he is elected, he will be an American president.
MORE: Well, there it is. Obama is my president-elect. In 2004, I really cared that George Bush beat John Kerry. I had a sick feeling in my stomach until finally Ohio was called for W. Tonight, no sick feeling. I'm disappointed but not emotionally invested. Is that because it's been clear for a while that McCain would lose, or is it that McCain was just good enough, or is it that President Obama does have its compensations? I'm not sure. How 'bout y'all? How sick does this make you?