You have to be impressed by the American people. Not just from seeing the pictures of fired-up voters queuing for hours to cast their ballots. The thing that got me was just how well-mannered the two candidates were after the result. Obama called McCain "a brave and selfless leader". McCain braved some booing from his defeated supporters to be equally nice to Obama.
McCain's concession speech was rather good. He made the point that being an American meant more to him than being a member of any of other organisation, the Republican party included. I wish I believed that British politicians had that level of commitment to their country.
I just love the fact that whatever the imperfections in the US electoral process it sets up a magic moment in January when the most powerful man in world will hand over power to his political rival without a shot being fired.
Could you imagine this happening in ancient Rome ? Sub-Saharan Africa ?
How many lives are lost in failed and successful coups throughout history ? How often has the best man for the job resulted from military regime change ? You usually end up with a macho gun-nut (or his inbred kid) who bankrupts his country in foreign adventures and brutal snuffs out dissent at home.
Not that George Bush was a good advert for a peaceful process. At least the American people were smart enough to bring in the 22nd Amendment which means you only ever get eight years of a bad president.
So hats-off to the American people. I hope you've got yourself the president you deserve, and if you haven't your Constitution will ensure you can get yourself another one without picking up any of those millions of guns you like to keep around the place.