Everyone here is thrilled about the election. I cannot overstate the degree to which everyone I know here was routing for Obama to win. I saw multiple homemade Obama signs on the streets. People were talking about it everywhere. The night of the election, when we were walking back from the party, some French college students who had written 'Obama :)' on their faces stopped us to cheer. And I literally knew no one at my job who was pulling for McCain. It surprised me a little bit, because there are certainly a few Sarkozy supporters at work, so I assumed there had to be a few McCain fans in the crowd. But as Ann pointed to me over coffee yesterday, so many Europeans have been angered by Bush's foreign policy, specifically the unwillingness to work with other countries-- the 'if you're not with us, you're against us'-- for that reason alone people were routing for Obama to win. They want someone who is willing to work with their governments.
I've also been approached by several European colleagues who say things like, "I'm just so impressed that the US would elect a black man. I think that would never happen in my country." So, it is nice to briefly bask in the collective goodwill that is directed towards the US these days.
Farhad, an Iranian friend of mine at work, believes that Obama's election will likely result in moderates being elected in other countries. Bush was a real rallying point for radical politics elsewhere, so now the wind has been taken out of their sails a bit. Farhad also pointed out that when the Iranian government was accused of human rights abuses, president Ahmadinejad would just point out what a racist country the US is; that just won't hold water anymore. Farhad is hoping that Khatami will run again in the next Iranian presidential election. Its time for a moderate.
Alas, the election night party that I went to was a bit of a dud. It was at the Hilton, and there were 900 people there, crowded into a too-small room, and it quickly got overheated. Plus the "buffet" that we were promised consisted of a few bowls of chips and pistachio nuts. They eventually brought out a few trays of crudites, which were mobbed so quickly I couldn't even get to them. And the debates that I had so looked forward to were marred by a poor sound system, and I couldn't hear anything. Oh well. Plus I missed watching the election returns! I just didn't have the energy to try and stay up and watch them until 5 am.
Here are some blurry cell phone pics I took. The jazz band was pretty good.