It's Wednesday, November 5th.
Americans made history last night in an election many hope will unify the country and repair some of its deepest and bloodiest divisions.
Currently, Joe Biden says he's humbled and deeply honoured to be America's first Catholic Vice President.
This is The Current.
Obama Reaction - Dominic Girard
For the first time in American history, the next President of the United States will be an African American. And this morning, the American Dream -- the idea that anyone, regardless of their race, class or religion, might one day grow up to be President -- seems just a little more believable to a great many Americans.
Last night, Americans turned out to vote in record numbers. Barack Obama took the popular vote. He took crucial battlegrounds even Virginia. Democrats also took control of the house of representatives. They now dominate the Senate.
As the results rolled in, tens of thousands of Obama supporters packed themselves into Chicago's sprawling Grant Park and celebrated well into the night. And this morning, the question they and the rest of the country are facing is what's really changed? What kind of America have they woken up in?
The Current's Dominic Girard has spent the last few days in Chicago, trying to get a handle on those questions. He joins us from Grant Park.
Obama Activist - Danny Glover
Now the very fact that an African American has been voted the 44th President of the United States is of enormous significance in a country that has been divided by race since its inception. But according to my next guest, the hard work of making that victory mean something is just beginning.
Most of you will know Danny Glover as an actor and director. But he's also an activist on social justice issues. He stood with striking hotel workers in Canada, tackling poverty in the United States and trying make education and healthcare accessible to more Americans. So he's been watching Barack Obama's campaign with great interest and he joined us from Berkeley, California.
Danny Glover's latest project is a documentary film called Trouble The Water, about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the people of the lower ninth ward in New Orleans.
Chicago Roots - Kristin Nelson
Twenty five years ago, Barack Obama walked the streets in the Roseland parish in Chicago's south side. At the time, he was a community organizer -- the Director of the Developing Communities Project -- and his political career was just an idea. But it is from that place that we can trace the trajectory of his career.
The Current's Kristin Nelson has spent the last few days with some of that community's political leaders. First we'll hear from some who worked alongside Barack Obama all those years ago and then from one man in particular who picked up where Mr. Obama left off.
The Current's Kristin Nelson is in Chicago.
American Reporter - Sean Cole # 1
This has been one of the most historic American elections in recent memory. And it's also been one of the most emotional. There were tears of joy, relief and grief. Across the United States, fans of both candidates gathered in groups -- too anxious to watch the results come in alone.
Or they stayed home -- too anxious to be with others. Our American reporter friend Sean Cole was one of the stay-at-homers. But he also got on the phone and started calling out to his friends across the country starting in the northeast and heading west.
Album: Yes We Can
Cut: Yes We Can
Artist: Lee Dorsey.
Producer: Allen Toussaint.
Composer: Lee Dorsey and Allen Toussaint.
Throughout the campaign, Barack Obama captivated audiences and converted skeptics with a few simple, but ultimately infectious ideas ... Hope, Change and "Yes We Can." Along the way, he made history, re-energized American politics and built-up a set of expectations that may just be impossible to meet.
And so, even as Americans pause to appreciate the significance of the first black President in U.S. history, there's more than a little anxiety even among people who dearly want Barack Obama to succeed.
To get a sense of those conflicting emotions, we're joined first by Ta-Nehisi Coates. He is a Contributing Editor to the Atlantic magazine and the author of a memoir called The Beautiful Struggle. He was in New York City. Armstrong Williams is a conservative commentator and a former speech writer for Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas. He was in Washington. Patricia DeGennaro teaches about U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Policy Issues at New York University.
American Reporter - Sean Cole
Let's go back to our American reporter friend Sean Cole. He spent last night calling out across the United States from his apartment in Boston. After talking to a friend in Philadelphia, he headed southwest to Virginia, a state that turned out to be a significant and symbolic win for Obama.
Reporter - Sean Cole # 3
So, let's say you're an American and you're in Moscow while the most historic election of your life is unfolding at home. Where do you go to watch the results? The Starlite Diner, of course. It's a little slice of 1950's Americana ... right down the road from the Kremlin. Vinyl booths, burgers and shakes. You know the kind of place.
At 2:30 in the morning Moscow time, a group of Americans converged there to keep each other company while the votes were tallied. Robin Hessman was among them. She's a documentary film maker and a friend of our reporter friend, Sean Cole. So he called her up on his computer.
The thing about American elections is that they don't just matter to Americans. For good or bad, the United States is still the dominant power in the world. So the person running the country matters to people who have never set foot in the United States ... people all over the world.
These are the headlines in a few of the world's leading newspapers this morning.
From the British newspaper, The Guardian ...OBAMA'S VICTORY BRINGS A NEW DAWN OF LEADERSHIP. From The Japan Times in Tokyo ...OBAMA SCORES HISTORIC VICTORY. From Australia's Sydney Morning Herald ...CHANGE HAS COME TO AMERICA. And from France's Le Monde ...BARACK OBAMA ELU PRESIDENT:C'EST VOTRE VICTOIRE. (Elected President: It's Your Victory)
Now as you might imagine, the idea of an African-American President -- especially one who's father is from Kenya -- is being celebrated by a lot of Africans this morning. Basildon Peta is a journalist from Zimbabwe who's now living in exile in South Africa. We heard what he had to say about an Obama Presidency.
With China emerging as a global economic power, many Chinese are keeping close tabs on how Barack Obama's election will affect their sometimes tenuous relationship with the United States. Simon Li is a Canadian who teaches politics to college students in Hong Kong. He told us about how President-elect Obama is being viewed in China.
International Callout - Rami Khouri
Rami Khouri is the Editor-At-Large for The Beirut Daily Star. He was in Boston, Massachusetts this morning.
International Callout - Kalpana Sharma
International Callout - Alfonso Cuellar
Alfonso Cuellar is a writer and editor with Semana, an award-winning weekly magazine in Colombia. He was in Bogota, Colombia.
Album: Blondie: Greatest Hits: Sound and Vision
Cut: 1, Hanging on the Telephone
Capitol 09463 45863
Reporter - Sean Cole # 4
It was a long night, but our American reporter friend Sean Cole finally made it across the United States ... and ended the evening by getting hold of a somewhat rare breed -- a John McCain supporter in California.
Later today on CBC Radio One, it's The Point and host Aamer Haleem will have some suggestions for dealing with CNN withdrawal now that the American election is over. That's The Point at 2 o'clock -- 2:30 in Newfoundland and Labrador. And tonight at 10 o'clock on CBC Television, The National will be looking at what the future holds for President Elect Barack Obama.
We ended the show today with a few words from the man himself. This is part of Barack Obama's victory speech last night.
Album: Tear the Roof Off (1970-1980)
Cut: 03, Chocolate City
Composer: George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell.