It was as if the clouds over Augusta had parted on Wednesday.
The city was abuzz with the possible. Maybe the local government can be made to work again. Maybe blacks and whites can bridge the racial divide that our leaders have stranded us at the edge of. Maybe a partnership with government doesn't have to come with threats and intimidation and fear of retaliation.
It is a new day in America and Georgia, but nowhere is that day more crisp and hopeful than in Augusta.
It is remarkable and sad that one man, unwittingly or uncaringly, could cast such a pall over an entire community - especially a man as filled with potential as Augusta's state Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker. But his electrifying defeat by the gentlemanly Randy Hall is a powerful rebuke to a once-powerful man who too often abused his power for his own ends.
Walker, fined heartily by the State Ethics Commission earlier this year, reminded anyone who'd listen about all the state money he helped funnel this way. But, truth be known, pennies from heaven should rain down only where merited - and they will, even without political bullying.
Moreover, even many of the beneficiaries of Walker's machinations had grown tired of the strings attached - and a crescendo of voters on Tuesday cried out "Enough!" The community had determined that the strings dangling from the Walker political machine had only ended up choking Augusta.
Voters also might have risen up at Walker's arrogant notion that he could help draw a new congressional district and install his son, Charles Walker Jr., by acclamation. Walker junior also was rebuffed in no uncertain terms in his contest, won handily by Max Burns.
Rarely has an electorate ever voted more plainly for a new day. And rarely has a community been in such need of it.
How beautiful is our electoral system - that through it, even a put-upon people can bloodlessly throw off the tyranny of a few.