Trust The Daily Show to get it right. In the run up to the American elections, people so busy trying to brand Obama as a socialist or a radical, everyone seemed to forget he was Black. In a way, that is amazing. African-Americans have done exceptionally well in many fields in the US, including politics, but in that sphere, the same glass ceiling (due to the Bradley effect or what have you) applied. Not anymore. Not anymore.
Martin Luther King's dream has been realised. Once the announcement was made, suddenly anchors on every channel left Ayers and Acorn and his middle name and all that other rubbish, and realised what a historic day it was for Black people. In McCains victory speech he acknowledged this -- perhaps its all the better he lost. Otherwise he would have been the man who came in the way of the equality of the races, and as a symbol he would have been hated by history. One of the bad guys. When McCain spoke I wondered if he realised that he was a footnote in history, because it didn't really matter who stood against Obama; I feel this was a time that just had to come. The culmination of the civil rights movement. If Beyonce and JayZ (?) can own the music industry, and everything Will Smith touches turns to gold... politics was next. (Especially when politics and media are so intertwined in the US. Infotainment at its best).
The New York Time's Judith Warner wondered if children will realise the sheer enormity of this singular achievement. Come up with all the reasons for this victory -- economy, Bush, a new message, a younger generation finding a voice in Obama -- that he is Black is the symbolic achievement we will remember for decades to come. We will all remember where we were when Obama was elected President. It has touched us all on a personal level. Just look at the Facebook generation. Practically everyones status had been changed to hail Obama.
It was fantastic.
PS - If you don't know where the title of this post came from, please watch Saturday Night Live sketches online. This election cycle they have been fantastic, starting from the primaries.
PPS And for an analysis of the Obama factor that I made over a year ago (and I think is quite correct), go here.