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On this historic day.

2009-01-20 - 8:46 p.m.

I am not American. As a Canadian, I’ve had a passing interest in American politics in the same way a dog might keep a wary eye on the elephant he’s rooming with, since any movement from that large roomie can certainly have repercussions in our tight living quarters.

Today I was out doing errands while President Barack Obama was actually sworn in, and only caught some of the post-ceremony analysis on CNN. I can only imagine what it was like to watch live, because even the snippets of his speech that they were dissecting moved me unexpectedly. I didn’t actually shed any tears, but had I been alone instead of on the treadmill at the gym I might have. On the news at six I saw many Canadians doing just that. Our Governor General even had it on a big screen at Rideau Hall and invited about a hundred school children and ordinary citizens to come and watch it – a first in its own right.

You Americans might just think “of course”, because you felt like that yourselves, but think about how rare it probably is, non-Americans crying tears of joy at the swearing in of one of your presidents. And while I have, as mentioned, noted who won American elections before (and couldn’t believe it when Bush was re-elected; I really didn’t see that one coming), I have never, ever even known what day the actual inauguration took place. I never cared to. And to be perfectly honest, I was half-braced for someone to try to take him out before today arrived.

I know that not everyone in America voted for him. I know not everyone outside America was rooting for him. But nevertheless, I know there are a whole lot of people today thinking “Well done America. Well done.”

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