On Tuesday night, Boston felt like Times Square on New Year's Eve. People celebrated the end of one era and the beginning of another, only this time it was the end of the George W. Bush years and the ascension of Sen. Barack Obama as the 44th US president.
The crowd at an election-eve party at the Fairmount Copley Plaza erupted when televised reports announced Obama's victory. People jumped up and down, cheered, and chanted. Later, they gathered on the steps of the Boston Public Library, high-fiving and playing musical instruments. Car horns honked on the surrounding streets, and it felt heartening to hear Boston drivers slam down on their steering wheels in joy instead of the usual anger.
Obama will enter office with several advantages: public support reflected in once-red states turning blue (like Ohio), a gift for communication, a reputation for diplomacy and bipartisanship. Yet he also has question marks -- he has only served two years as a US senator, and this inexperience has made him seem naive when discussing foreign policy.
Let us hope, however, that he will fulfill his promise as our 44th president, and that he will eventually turn doubts over his inexperience into praise for his achievements.