I will start by saying that I don't think that Barack Obama is a savior. I don't think he will solve everything in his first week, year, or term. (Or even two.) I disagree with him on some things, although I agree with him on more. I am sure I will be disappointed by him, as he is, after all, a politician, and a human being. I think I will be excited about what he does, and I'm definitely excited that the cowboy (I still can't believe we elected him TWICE) is back in Texas. I love that he sounds like someone who has seriously thought through the issues and formed an educated opinion, and I hope that is true.
Aside from all of this, the historical significance really cannot be overstated. I know that people have been saying that it is overstated and that there's too much hype, etc. Frankly, I think that these people who are saying these things have never had to experience racism and do not understand how incredible this is.
I'm going to plagiarize from my comments on Facebook on some friends' notes. (I suppose it's not plagiarizing if they're my own comments, but here goes...)
Ten years ago, I would not have gotten much of the historical/racial significance of President Obama. That is because ten years ago I was still blissfully unaware of how prevalent racism is (you can be unaware when you're white). After working in the inner city for 8 years, I am so so so SO excited that we've elected a black man. I'm excited for other reasons too but that is not a small part of it.
There is definitely a danger in proclaiming him a "great" president before he's taken office - that's ridiculous. However, I think much of it is a reaction against the last 8 years by people who have felt like they were made out as enemies of the country because they dared to question what they saw as an unjust war... as well as a celebration of a leader who has - although he is now very privileged - seen what "real life" is like and seems to connect to real people.
In addition, I can't overstate how much much it means to Americans and non-Americans that we've elected someone who is at least partly non-white. I worked with Black and Latino kids for 8 years and it broke my heart to hear them say that the president would always be white. Even to come out and say that there would never be a black president because white people were "always in charge." Or that they didn't let "people like us" into college. They weren't told these things by anyone, they just observed how they saw the world working.
In addition, I was just in Mexico and my Mexican friends were SO EXCITED. They said that they couldn't put into words how much it means to the non-white people in the world that America managed to elect a black president.
I don't think he'll fix everything, not by any means, and I think we will likely be disappointed and that we have the responsibility to pray for him - but I am hopeful.