Friday, November 07, 2008

I Was Wrong About The Election

barack-obama-victory-speech-election-night-michelle-obama-malia-obama-sasha-obama-obama-acceptance-speech-michelle-obama-videoTuesday was surreal. My 87-year-old mother went to the polls for the first time in 25 years to cast her vote for Barack Obama. Kira was talking to her friends online about electoral votes, and not about gym class or their MySpace profiles. My afternoon cappuccino slipped my mind completely. We had lawn signs. Then, to top it all off, the cat actually buried his own poop, which I thought for sure was an ominous sign that something bad was about to happen.

I was hoping I was wrong.

It's hard to put into words what that night felt like. We had a few friends over to watch the returns, but none of us knew what to expect. I told them I'd be making martinis and ordering food, and we could all hang out and celebrate or end the evening consoling each other. Either way there'd be alcohol involved, and some sort of dip from Costco.

I was still paranoid from what happened in the last two elections, so I was fully expecting to be devastated this time as well. I pictured us all at the end of the evening, staring with disbelief at the TV screen as McCain gave his victory speech and the number '271' flashed in big letters behind him. And there would be Sarah Palin, pumping her fist in the air as she danced around the stage in her $700 Manolos and that coat of hers that looks like it shrunk, singing "I'm Every Woman" at the top of her lungs. Then I pictured all of us attacking the TV at that point, cursing and smashing the screen with our martini glasses. After that I suppose we'd have to get a new TV, maybe that new plasma I'd been wanting, so really a McCain win wouldn't be ALL bad.

But I'm so glad I was wrong.

It was an amazing evening, and I'm grateful that I was with friends to see the events unfold. It felt good, and right, to experience the moment with a like-minded group of people, all of us wishing and hoping for the same outcome. And it was that much more special to see our kids, ages five to fifteen, sitting in front of the television holding Kiyomi's homemade Obama signs, completely silent and riveted by what was going on. And when that moment came, when CNN first called it, I think everyone in the room was holding back tears. I know I was. It was followed by such a huge feeling of relief, of validation, that for once it was how it should be. That things had finally gone our way.

The kids all ran outside and charged down the street yelling, "Obama!" while the rest of us adults, still in shock, remained glued to the TV screen. I think we were all waiting for it to collapse, to be a big mistake because of a hanging chad or a few boxes of ballots that hadn't been counted because they were in the back of some volunteer's car who was stuck in the Burger King drive-thru.

But I'm so glad we were wrong.

I feel proud of our country, and hopeful. But mostly, I feel gratitude for Barack Obama and what he's done to inspire and bring together a nation that seemed so hopelessly broken. I didn't think I would ever see a day when a person of color would become president, when so many people in our country would look beyond race and stand behind the man who they felt, plain and simple, was the best man for the job. I didn't think it would ever happen.

I'm so, so glad I was wrong.

For anyone who wants to see Obama's victory speech again, here it is in its entirety.

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tags: | obama victory speech |

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  1. It was an amazing and magical evening. I haven't stopped smiling since Tuesday.

  2. I'm still hugging and high-fiving strangers. I guess I should stop - someone will have me arrested soon.


  3. I cried all through his acceptance speech. And the news is still sinking in.

  4. Beautiful post. I felt the same way. As the results came in, as my phone ran non-stop... I kept waiting. Waiting for something to happen, some controversy. I didn't really believe what I was seeing until McCain gave his concession speech. What an amazing, exhilarating and wonderful night!

  5. I still tear up every time I think about it. And I can't even begin to describe the scene here in New York. It was one of the greatest nights I have ever had in this city.

  6. Beautiful post. I am still tearing up every time I think of what this could mean for our country. NPR was covering highlights of the night the other morning while I was driving to work and I couldn't stop crying. I can't even imagine what the drivers around me must have thought. You might be interested in this Salon article.
    It gives me hope for our and our childrens' futures.

  7. Great post, SPM. There were lots of tears where I was, too. Am still feeling patriotic, four days later.

  8. Can you believe how Obama changed everything?? If some had told me four years ago that not only would I be donating time and money to a politician, but I would be earnestly BLOGGING about one, I would have rolled on the floor laughing.

    YAY for change!!

  9. I couldn't let myself think that it could actually happen. I still get chills thinking about that night.

    And, how have I never been here? Loving your blog.

  10. I, too, am so glad you were wrong!


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