A reader writes:

The reason Obama is winning and will win is so simple. Americans want to believe in themselves again.

And that's why, I think, the criticism of Obama as a messiah figure is misplaced. It's not about believing in him. It's about believing in our own capacity to act as newly reasonable democratic participants in an age of extreme danger. I don't think of him as a messiah. Mine has already come. I don't believe this world will ever be heaven on earth. I don't need or want another person to give my life meaning.

But I have been deeply, deeply demoralized about this country for the past few years.

McCain goes part of the way - these primaries have ensured that the U.S. will not be torturing after the Bush-Cheney years. His election is a defeat for the insular, toxic forces that have taken over conservatism. But Obama is a deeper solvent for the Bush stain. His election would be a statement not about him, but about Americans themselves. About how they do not recognize themselves any more. And want to again.

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