Barack Obama is the the first African-American President, a younger man with a handsome family. The nation rejoices, even the people I met last night at the Arts Alive show in LaConner. I sat by the stage next to a carved wooden parrot and many people greeted me with words of happiness.
I would like to add some words which have not been stressed. Obama is the first White Sox fan to become President -- this only matters to a subset of Americans, of course, but I am in that group, so our pleasure has been doubled.
Next, much more important -- Obama was a teacher. He was a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago. He is the first President since Woodrow Wilson to have an academic background. Wilson had been President of Princeton University before becoming Governor of New Jersey and then taking over the White House.
Obama was disparaged during the campaign for having "accomplished nothing," yet he was a teacher! They said Obama "did nothing," yet he wrote two very good books.
There is an element in this country that despises teaching and writing -- but we are relieved of them now. Those clods! They were defeated.
Now, even more important, Barack Obama is the first President to come from Illinois since Abraham Lincoln.
Obama's theme of unity is a direct descent from Mr. Lincoln's ideal. Lincoln united the country with the Sword of Righteousness in bloody combat, because Lincoln believed that the Union may not be dissolved. Many men gave their lives for that same cause.
Or, as Lincoln might have said if he was a Mafia chief -- "Once you join up, youse can't leave."
Such is the lesson of Lincoln which Obama absorbed while he taught his class of constitutional law at the University of Chicago.
Finally, Obama is a President from the Midwest. Did you see his first press conference yesterday, with all the assembled and powerful financial notables standing behind him? Yes, and where was this press conference held? At a ranch in Texas?
No, brother, it was held Downtown, in Chicago, where Obama said he could re-right the economy.
The Midwest is the strength of the nation. The Midwest is the future of America.
You don't believe me? You think the Midwest is some sorry rust belt that people only want to get away from?
Well you are wrong. Let me put it another way. If the Midwest has no future, then America has no future.
Obama knows this better than anybody. I'm not sure what he can do about General Motors -- he could prop it up, or let it go. I am not sure. But this new beginning, this economic reconstruction, with or without the power of government, will commence in the Midwest, or it won't happen at all.