We stayed up last night to watch Barack Obama's acceptance speech. Now I couldn't vote in that election and I don't live in the United States, but his speech, his monumental victory, brought tears to my eyes.
It may be hard to believe what politicians say, but Obama's rallying cry for change, for racial harmony and cooperation goes beyond politics. As the camera panned people's faces, you can see how is message is touching them, resonating with them, inspiring them.
In fact, watching the crowd of over 100,000 people in Chicago cheer and wave at their president-elect, I couldn't help thinking back to our recent Canadian election. The contrast between what was happening last night south of our border and what happened here last month is depressing.
I went to an all-candidates debate in my community. I watched our party leaders point fingers and snipe at each other on national television. I can't say I was ever inspired or moved even remotely close to tears. I can't remember if I stayed up to watch Harper's acceptance speech. If I did, it was obviously not that memorable.
When was the last time a Canadian politician, or even a widely-known public figure, inspired this nation? (Someone told me this morning that Pierre Trudeau had done that. I wish I'd been around to see it - but that was 40 years ago).
I know that Canadians don't tend to blow their own horns or shout out our patriotic pride. But perhaps it is time for a leader who does it for us. A leader who reminds us of our heroes and their legacies, great men like Lester B. Pearson, Tommy Douglas and Terry Fox.
Today I am celebrating with Americans and with people all around the world - celebrating an historic moment and what will hopefully be a catalyst for real change. But I am also hoping that we, as Canadians, will be inspired to consider ways that we can change as a nation and ways that we can find pride in our country, in each other and in our history. That we will ask of our politicians to do more than stick to the party line and argue about tax cuts or municipal infrastructure. Like Obama has done for Americans throughout this campaign, I wish that our politicians would remind us of what it means to rally the power of democracy, to build upon the legacy of what we are most proud of, and to believe that together, real change is possible.