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Katherine Marshall Katherine Marshall is a senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, where she leads the Center's program on Religion and Global Development. After a long career in...
Faith in Action tracks the activities of people of faith across the globe and across religious traditions, with a focus on development issues. Posts are originally published by the Huffington Post. Older blog posts appeared on the Washington Post's Georgetown/On Faith site.

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A New Dawn

November 7, 2008

Messages from all corners of the world are flooding in, expressing wonder, joy, and hearty congratulations.

Americans working abroad have carried a heavy burden these past years, as the sins of our country were visited on us personally. There was a time when people disassociated the American government from the American people; they understood that U.S. policy did not necessarily reflect the views of all Americans. They even sympathized with us when we struggled to to explain it. But over eight years the burden of proof shifted. The whiff of disapproval directed at us grew perceptibly. I felt its weight especially in interfaith meetings, where people don't shy away from issues of morality and justice.

So it is heartwarming to feel the tide of good will that is flowing this way. The notes come in through emails, phone messages, text messages, and an outpouring on Facebook.

The content? "America did it right this time", "Our hope is renewed", "We have a new beginning". "I love the images of the whole world rallying around an ideal of something greater than we've been".

Several people have sent me that great old prayer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used to quote: "We ain't what we ought to be, and we ain't what we want to be and we ain't what we're going to be. But thank God, we ain't what we was."

My favorite message comes from Bishop Gunnar Stalsett, one of the world's great peacemakers, setting out today for three weeks trying to staunch violence in East Timor and Sri Lanka: "I am so happy with the outcome of the election. God has saved America."

The rejoicing reverberates. And all Americans can bask in it, at home and abroad.