Some reactions from around the world today:
"Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." — Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president.
"This is the fall of the Berlin Wall times ten. America is rebecoming a New World. ... On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes." — Rama Yade, France's black junior minister for human rights.
"If it were possible for me to get to the United States on my bicycle, I would." — Joseph Ochieng, a 36-year-old carpenter who celebrated in Nairobi's Kibera shantytown, one of Africa's largest slums.
"It's the beginning of a different era in the U.S. The United States is a country to dream about, and for us black Brazilians, it is even easier to do so now." — Emmanuel Miranda, a 53-year-old police officer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"No doubt that Obama will be better for the Americans and the whole world, and being elected after the horrible policy of George Bush is enough by itself. Whatever change he can bring to the world after this catastrophic polices would be great." — Hisham Abu Amer, 28, in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
"Americans have struck a deadly blow to racism all over the world. Americans have regained themselves and have regained the American dream. The picture of the U.S. that was disfigured by the Republicans in the past eight years fell from the wall today. The picture of the America we had in our minds has taken its place." — Prominent Saudi columnist Dawood al-Shirian.
"What we have seen in talks with him, I met with him in person and in a small group, is a man who understands, who listens and who thinks. I estimate that the basis of our common interests will bring to a continuation of a policy of listening and cooperation to deal with the important challenges for us and the United States." — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
"The election of Barack Obama as president has finally broken the greatest barrier of prejudice in human history." _ Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua.
And, as a contrast, our own Prime Minister Steven Harper issued a generic statement that reads like a product of a find-and-replace job from the one he was going to use if McCain had won:
"On behalf of the Government and the people of Canada, I want to congratulate Senator Barack Obama for his victory in tonight's United States Presidential Election.
"I look forward to meeting with the President-elect so that we can continue to strengthen the special bond that exists between Canada and the United States.
"In the weeks and months ahead Canadian officials and diplomats will be working closely with members of President-elect Obama's transition team. Ministers in our government look forward to building a strong working relationship with their counterparts in a new Obama cabinet."
Way to miss the historical significance, Harpo!
It is traditional (a tradition broken by President Bush, incidentally) that the Canadian Prime Minister is the first foreign head of state to meet with the new President. Let's hope Harper gets Obama to resume this tradition, if for no other reason than to teach Harper how to excite and inspire people instead of acting like competition to Sominex.
The American election was closely watched up here, and as far as Canada was concerned there was only one real candidate: Obama. McCain was well-regarded as a war hero, but loathed as a potential president here, a feeling only exacerbated by his selection of "Caribou Barbie" (their term, I only wish it had been of my invention!) as his running mate.
I hope President Obama will dote on the "Appalachian God-and-Guns Belt," the places that fear him, and work hard on convincing them that he is not only not a threat, he is in fact their ally. If he can do that, he will up-end the hate radio and other fear-mongers and go a long way towards turning the US away from the politics of division and hate, the "us versus them" mentality that has ruined and bankrupted (in every sense) America. He has already united blacks and whites in a way I never thought I'd live to see.