I woke this morning at exactly the right moment to hear, live, Barack Obama's victory speech. We were thrilled, moved and happy. We're not so naive as to think revolutionary political change will sweep away all the meanies, abolish capitalism and the arms race and let the meek inherit the earth - but it is a great victory for all those black Americans who suffered under, and struggled against, the segregation and disenfranchisement that still reigned in the USA when Blind Willie McTell died and Barack Obama was born. And for those of us who were always on their side.
To see those long, long lines of black Americans, and a whole new young generation, waiting to vote with excitement, determination and hope, was electrifying. Obama's speech echoed that hope. He showed himself aware of the wider world, thoughtful about how the US dominates this world, and full of grace and dignity. And it thrills me that while he doesn't thrust black American culture down different cultural throats, his rhetoric sounds resonant chords with everyone at all familiar with black church worship in the States. You couldn't but hear Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come', itself a transmitter of the cadences of black preachers, when Obama said, without sentimentality or triumphalism, "It's been a long time coming..." Blind Willie McTell, adroitly non-political as he was (and needed to be, for safety's sake, in his lifetime) would surely have recognised the eloquent rises and falls of Obama's speech, and smiled, and rejoiced.
And it would have been no surprise to him, I imagine, that his home state of Georgia went to McCain.