As it happens I’m in NYC for work for a few days and so was watching the US election results with friends in Brooklyn; when it was called for Obama, everyone went nuts. We heard cheering in the streets and went out to see what was up, and so did everyone else. Everyone from a few blocks around ended up in the street cheering, setting off firecrackers, passing around beer, and generally having a great time. Bar owners cracked open bottles of their best imitation champagne and handed around paper cups to celebrate. Every single car that went through the intersection stopped to honk and scream, including the fire engines and police cars. And since several of the people I know here are in marching bands they had their saxophones and trombones out before long. We were in a neighbourhood which is largely African-American, and the most touching part to me was the number of Black people shouting things like “My president’s Black, how about yours?” to loud cheers. Even if Obama turns out to be a complete bastard the mere symbol of a person of colour in the White House will give a lot of people here a hope they never had before, and a new sense of their own potential, which is just wonderful. I hear there was a much larger party in Obama’s (adopted) hometown of Chicago, and of course unlike in Kenya there was no national holiday declared here to celebrate Obama’s win, but it was still a beautiful atmosphere and lovely to see. I’m sure it won’t take long before president-elect Obama pisses me off for something or other, and of course I’m disappointed that so many anti-queer rights referenda passed, but for now I’ll take my optimism where I can find it.