Reading all the post-election commentary, I was struck by the consistent tone of relief. Regardless of what you might think about John McCain–he may have been a fine man at one point, but he sold his soul for a chance at the presidency–it would have been a major national screw up to have failed to vote Obama into office.
As for the historical change part, electing a black man is president is a major milestone, but it doesn't necessarily mean anything will change. Change will happen only when our political discourse changes. If Obama can change the terms through which we conduct our national debates–unless our public sphere changes for the better–then he truly would have brought about change we can believe in. He's certainly poised to do just that.