Election Day 2008

6 11 2008

While there are hundreds of thousands of people out there waxing poetic about the events yesterday and I hate to burden anyone who reads this with listening to one more.  But I can’t help it.  So I apologize in advance. And I guess fair warning, I am planning on writing a few more posts about the election before I fade back into obscurity realizing that I have nothing better to talk about once again.

Yesterday was a day that I will never forget.  As painful as it was to be at work all day, counting the seconds until I could go vote and then sit on my couch to watch the returns with a pizza and some beer, it was all amazing.  The DC Metro area was beset by news of long waits across the region so I tried to pick a time that might provide the best chance that I not have to wait for hours.  Been there done that, much more fun when you are a college student, I had places to go.  When it was all said and done I was really glad that I didn’t have the option to do vote ahead of time.  The act of voting, pushing that button for Barack Obama was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done.  You couldn’t help but stare at that colored in circle, knowing not only that an African-American candidate had made it so far, but that I was able to take part in his campaign.  Leaving the polling location I was filled with excitement and trepidation.  Knowing full well that if he were to lose that this would be a dark day in American history; not because an African-American candidate that had made it so far would fall short but because there would be no preventing the feeling that this election was stolen and that everything that had been done just was not enough.  Not even getting into the implications on race relations and the vile partisanship that has taken hold of our political process.

Last night, we sat and watched the coverage on MSNBC (switching to CNN and Fox every once in a while),

From CNN.com

From CNN.com

analyzing each coming poll and each state called.  Worrying constantly that maybe MSNBC was premature, or CNN or Fox for that matter.  When Pennsylvania was called we were convinced that it was just too early. Chuck Todd was pouring a proverbial cold glass of water over the Obama supporters every 20 minutes which only added to our fears.  We kept saying to one another that maybe we were getting too far ahead of ourselves, having watched the previous two elections closely, we had seen this story before and not to be outdone we continually tried to temper one another.  It was only when my mom called to give her short concession after seeing that Fox had called Ohio for Obama.  We were still not convinced, it seemed too soon for Ohio to be called, yet within minutes I started getting text messages and IM’s from people talking about the victory in Ohio.  As state after state came in and Obama’s margin grew we began to see that not only was he winning the swing states, but he was also getting closer than any would have predicted in the reddest of red states.

It sounds a little crazy to say but at that moment I felt a part of history being made.  Listening to President-Elect Obama’s (how amazing is it to say that finally) victory speech and watching the crowd was maybe the most moving thing I have ever seen.  You don’t want to inflate the significance of an event like this or trivialize it by using cliches, but I’m not convinced that it is even a possiblity in this instance.  I genuinely felt connected to the 125,000 people cheering in Grant Park, the people that turned U Street in DC into a block party, the people in Times Square and everyone else across the country.  But not based on support for Barack Obama, while those were all examples of the excitement for his victory this was a night to be shared by all Americans and in many ways all people around the world.