Lifestyle

US election reactions: ‘sleeping a little better’ after the Obama win

Article published on Nov. 5, 2008
Article published on Nov. 5, 2008
From London to New York on 4 November, a selection of correspondents trace the historic night when Barack Obama became the first black president of the United States

San Gervasi district, Barcelona

(Image: Zachary Shtogren)1:28am: ‘I have been amazed by the overwhelmingly response I have received up to the last minute from Americans and non-Americans, because they wanted to be part of this historic event’ - Rebecca Glazer (USA), Democrats Abroad organiser

1:01am: ‘I'd tell Obama to maintain an international focus to get the US to re-engage with the world. The US used to have a good reputation abroad and used to do good things. We've simply conceded too much of that in the past eight years’ - Christian Suojanen (USA), founder of Democrats Abroad Spain

0:12am: ‘It's the most embarrasing to have to defend a country ruled by Bush for the last eight years. If Obama wins, I'll sleep a little better’ - Annie Wilson (USA)

It's the most embarrasing to have to defend a country ruled by Bush for the last eight years

11:34pm: ‘Today with Obama it's a very new step for the world for America and for Europe. I hope so’ - Fransicsco Agoerre (Chile)

Zachary Shtogren, 30, American, journalist

New York City

The historic mood is being felt all day long, with New Yorkers stuck to the web or the papers. Change comes during the night. At Rockefeller Center and at Times Square, thousands gather to watch the results coming in. People scream, honk cars and flash ‘Obama’ and ‘Change’ placards. Bystanders say that a new era is coming when the US will show a better example to the world. ‘At last something good happened in this country,’ says one.

Krisztian Gal, 22, Hungarian, university student and intern

(Image: p_c_w/ Flickr)

In a pub in Chelsea - the heart of New York's gay community - one would assume that the excitement would be electric. There was the celebratory cheer, the usual jump around and then everyone settled down in anticipation of the speeches. It was all very civilised. In fact, quite becoming of a country that had just matured in front of the world's eyes.

Matt Della, 25, British, human resources

Massachusetts

7:00pm: a party hosted by the political science department of Harvard university. Amidst the trepidation and buzz of speculation, there is a creeping sense of smug optimism about how things will pan out tonight. Despite the fact that some of the faculty here will no doubt be paying more taxes under Obama's plans, I doubt there are many McCain supporters here tonight.

1:30am: Harvard Square. Euphoric atmosphere. Police give up on keeping the crowds of students back from the streets, which are blocking up with cars. The city's taxis, many of them operated by migrants from Africa, honking their horns and give 'hi fives' to passers-by. Students chant the Obama campaign slogan - Yes We Can – and file in somewhat spontaneous processions. The noise in the centre of the crowd is quite deafening. No doubt difficult choices lie ahead for the future president. As far as Europe is concerned, transatlantic relations are unlikely to ever be fully repaired. For tonight, however, people celebrate the triumph of hope.

Roberto Foa, British, Phd candidate

Washington DC

(Image: sixes & sevens/ Flickr)From the morning, I feel the buzz in the air as I walk past the growing line of people waiting to vote at my neighborhood's elementary school. My office is teeming with stories being swapped of how many hours each person waited at their polling station. Every vote seems crucial, even if it is in a definite blue state like the district of Columbia. I rush back home to watch the news after work.

A little after 11:00pm - Obama wins. My housemates and I - a white American, Asian, and African-American on the couch together - shout for joy, celebrating the advent of a brighter future.

Lyn-Ni Lee, 22, Malaysian, research intern at a thinktank

London

(image: melvinheng/ Flickr)04:00am. Woohoo, a text message from a friend in New York. Wake up early, watch the election in bed. This event has the potential to change not only the way Americans feel about themselves, but the way the rest of the world thinks about America. It is essential he prove to all of us that Barack Obama deserves to hold the position of most powerful man in the world, and demonstrate that he was elected on merit, not simply race or rhetoric.

Catherine Neilan, 26, British, journalist

Dublin

4:00pm. Woke up a few minutes ago after having stayed up all night to watch the election. Still can't believe it happened: a decisive victory, seemingly pulled off without a hitch. It feels a bit like Christmas morning after you've opened up all your presents.

Matt Pagett, 24, American, translator