U.S. Elections: my observations

This time last week, I was waiting in line to vote for Barack Obama. Later that night, I listened to his speech. The next day, I started writing observations about the election. Today, I'm finally going to share some of those observations.

November 4, 2008 - 6:45 am
The Lord blessed Michiganders with a mild, sunny day. I rode my bicycle up to my polling location and arrived before the polls opened. I knew I was in for it. There were already at least 150 people in line. Cars were quickly filling the church's parking lot. I parked my bike and got in line. No on in the line was upset about the wait. We all knew how important this was. You could feel the determination in the air.

How I found out about our new President
I was watching Indecision 2008 coverage on Comedy Central with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. At the end of the show, they announced Obama had won. I wasn't watching real news, so I wondered if the news was real. I switched it to MSNBC. The news was real.

McCain's concession

I continued to watch MSNBC and heard McCain's concession. He admitted that the people were clear, congratulated Obama and gained some of the respect I lost for him before this election. I did not regain respect for the bunch of losers in the crowd, who booed and jeered at the mention of Obama's name. Sore losers, that bunch.

Grant Park speech
Barack Obama's acceptance speech was not all giddy. Although he pulled of a most historic victory (and a solid political beat down), he remained very poised, sober and serious as a heart attack. A tear (or ten) popped out of my eye when he mentioned the lines that people endured to vote. I was in one of those lines. Those lines mattered.

November 5, 2008
The next day I went to the airport, bought a New York Times and hopped on plane. I was heading to an APRA seminar in Rhode Island and had a layover, of all places, in Washington D.C. When we landed, I didn't realized we were going to be at Reagan, which is right next to downtown and all the treasures I love most in D.C. I looked over at the towering Washington Monument and the Capital Building. I longed to accidentally miss my flight and spend the rest of the week in our nation's capital. Love that city. LOVE IT.

I had a burger and a brewski and watched CNN at the airport while waiting for my flight to Providence. It was the first time I watched television since the speech the night before. Again a tear jerked out of my eye. I tried to keep it together, but it was quite emotional. I overheard an airport employee telling the bartender that he couldn't find a single copy of the Washington Post, not at the airport, not on the Metro, no place. I used my BlackBerry to check out people's reactions online. Most Facebook people loved it. MySpace people seemed to lean toward disappointment. Finally, I had a conversation with a man about beer. I hesitated to ask, but I pointed at my beer and asked him, "Are you celebrating, too?" He nodded, "Oh yeah."

November 6, 2008 - APRA New Researchers Seminar
At the seminar, we all stood up and introduced ourselves. An African-American woman struggled to introduce herself because she had lost her voice, a sign that she had been celebrating the night before. "I'm from Chicago and that's why my voice is raspy." She had been at Grant Park. We all cheered.

Since then...
I have been enjoying conversations with my friends who voted for Obama. We are relieved. We were those who were mega-grumps four years ago when our current abortion of a president was reelected. We knew there was a chance something could go horribly wrong, but the anxiety lifted at the announcement.

The scrambling of Republicans has been most amusing. After years of thinking the Republican machine was indestructible, I finally have hope again. There is hope that we can get some integrity and dignity back into Washington D.C.

And just like I saw before Election Day, I saw all types of people adorning Obama gear: buttons, stickers, t-shirts, baby jumpers, hats. I also saw people with simply the date 11-4-2008. That will be a day I never, ever forget.

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