Congratulations, America

When I was first invited to contribute to "In All Things", I wrote as a European envious of what the rise of Barack Obama showed the old continent about the United States.

Enlightened religion is deficient in piety, feeling, and popular power, while Evangelicals are too prone to give reason the day off. Without each other as counterbalance, they fall into sterility on the one hand and fundamentalism on the other; yet blended, in American civil religion, and in a leader like Obama, they are a potent force for greatness ....

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... "Yes we can" is not a policy but the promise of a capacity to change by harnessing transcendent forces. It’s the not just the man, but the culture which created him, that can deliver. American religious culture, and the genius of its constitution, harbor not just the seeds of political renewal, but the fertilizer and the water too.

I hope Obama’s policies will be great for America, and for the world -- and that Catholics, in particular, come to recognise in him their partisan and friend. But today is not about policies, ideology or even politics in the traditional sense. It’s about the harnessing of energies, the uniting around a common purpose, the transcendence of narrow interests and the triumph of the hope of a people.

It’s the US that won last night. Congratulations.

(And congratulations to America magazine, and to my "In All Things" colleagues, for peerless coverage.  I’m only sorry I never found a US citizen to marry in time to vote.)

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