I had not expected to go emotional tonight.Â While I had hoped John McCain would win, I knew he could lose.Â And I, as did many other McCain supporters, prepared for just that possibility.
But, when Sarah Palin and John McCain walked on stage in Arizona, I choked up. I had grown to admire both these people in the course of the campaign, feeling almost as if I knew them both, he the wise uncle, she the beloved sister.
Of the two presidential candidates, the loser gave the better speech tonight, one which shows us how to concede with grace.Â It made me proud to have supported him and sad that he lost.Â There were no platitudes or cliches.Â He thanked his family, took responsibility for his loss and noted his good fortune.
But, more than that, he acknowledged his opponent and the meaning of his achievement:
In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.
This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.
I’ve always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too.
But we both recognize that, though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation’s reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.
In conceding the presidency, John McCain showed that he is hewn from presidential timber. Would it that he could serve as a president. But, the American people have chosen otherwise.
All his supporters should thus join him in wishing “Godspeed to the man who was [his] former opponent and will be [our] president.”