I took in the returns by myself last night. Or, at least, alone in a physical sense. I was on the phone, on the computer, chatting animatedly with people I love about what was unfolding. And while I would have loved to have been at IB to take in the plans I’d been looking forward to, my cold-riddled body had shut down too much for me to venture outside my house. For all my friends who were at their homes or in the crowds, I was with you in spirit and hugging you all the while.

I burst into tears when the race was called. The realization that it had all come together tapped a well that I knew existed within me, but I’d had no idea of how deep it ran. I was crying amid the sneezing and coughing and everything else that had come with the night and this cold. But there was a happy grin, spread as widely across my face as it could reach.

Other people will say more. They’ll probably say it much better than a woman hopped up on cold meds. But here’s my take: I am happy with President-Elect Barack Obama. I am proud of the blue that crossed state lines last night and the instances in which people did let their prejudices fall to the wayside (although in other areas, those prejudices continued to rear their ugly and disappointing heads, which proves that we have a long way to go. Love is love, America).

What impresses me most, however, is the spirit of the new generation of American people that celebrated its official debut yesterday. Our generation has grown up hearing the tales from the generations before: the generation that pieced back together a nation that was severed in two; the generation that took to the battlelines and the factories; the generation that marched miles and sat hours after a woman refused to stand; the generation that wore their flowers and held their hands in peace signs while they were being beaten with police batons.

This new generation had, in smaller steps, tested out the waters, made the first cries, taken their first steps. The work that had already been done in protesting the war and demanding equal rights should never be diminished. But it was yesterday that it took hold of its entitled right and spoke as a collective group. Whether its members voted McCain or Obama, this generation spoke and felt the passion of a process, the hope of a future in the similar spirit that the other generations felt when they asserted themselves and began the process that led to shaping and defining both a nation and its people.

The question now is whether this generation will continue to follow this path. Can I see the emergence of a group ready to change the United States for the better in the years to come?

Yes I can. I’ve never felt such pride for the nation I call my home and can’t wait to see what we do with this nation now.

When the president-elect spoke on the Boston Common last year (which I attended), I took note of one thing he said:

“Change begins by getting rid of George Bush, but change doesn’t end there. We are going to have to do more than change parties. We are going to have to change our politics. We can’t be satisfied with a politics that says it’s smart to divide a nation – we’ll just activate our base and not worry about the other side. We have to create a new kind of politics that represents each and every one of you.”

Earlier: Obama rallies thousands on Boston Common