“Pleased as Punch“: Colloquial for delighted. The phrase has unsavory beginnings with the 19th century Punch and Judy puppet shows where Punch pretty much outwits and kills everyone he doesn’t like – with great glee, each time squeakily repeating his catchphrase, “That’s the way to do it!”
Euphoria is a much better word to describe the joy that swept much of the country – indeed much of the world – last night at the declaration that Barack Obama had won the presidential election.
I stayed home until 7:45 watching CNN and MSNBC and reading the blogs, wanting to see how things were going across the country from a variety of sources. Then I drove to the Hilton in downtown Vancouver, where the Dems had rented the ballroom, complete with big screen TV. The place was PACKED, and just as I walked in, the polls in California, Washington and Oregon closed and CNN called it for Obama.
Pandemonium broke out. We whooped and hollered and wept and hugged the nearest person, even total strangers. Even the bartenders left their posts to join the happy throng.
(I don’t know what was happening on the streets of my town, but my son in Portland and my daughter in Oakland said that happy cheering people poured onto the streets, cars honked, music blared – for much of the evening, beginning at the victory call at 8. And nobody complained about the revelry.)
Then we watched Obama’s victory speech on the big screen. Oh. My. God. We wept and cheered as if he was in the room with us. We have waited so long for a person of this much heart, intelligence, compassion, integrity and eloquence – that he is also an African-American is just frosting on the cake for me. For the African-American community it is unspeakably thrilling.
He couldn’t have been more gracious and more inclusive (when was the last time you heard a politician include gays and lesbians in a major speech).
Here’s the link to the speech video and transcript on the NY Times website. Wactch and weep for joy!
And here are the Democratic precinct officers for Clark County WA precincts 460 and 470: my neighbor Laurel and me – both wearing our Obama bling: