Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Where I Was
I think in years to come, we will all talk about where we were at 11:00 PM on November 4, 2008.
Here's where I was: Democratic Headquarters, Local Fancy Hotel, Parlor City. I sat clustered around one of several TV's with Petra and BFF, three out of about 300 people in the loud ballroom. I wore a grey suit and a red, white and blue stars and stripes scarf, because Democrats are patriots too.
Just before 11, CNN called Virginia for Senator Barack Obama. It was at that moment that I started to believe it. I turned to the woman next to me and said, "How many electoral votes does California have again?" At that moment the TV was counting down seconds to 11:00 when the polls would close on the West coast. And then, a Breaking News Banner. And then... CNN projects Senator Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States.
We jumped to our feet. We screamed and screamed and screamed. We wept. We hugged each other, and a bunch of strangers. The DJ cranked "Celebration," and then "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours," and then "Shout." We danced and danced and hugged more strangers and one another.
Then home... to Senator John McCain's incredibly gracious concession speech. And President-Elect Obama's inspiring words, and the sight of... how many people in Grant Park? And outside the White House?
We probably overestimate the power one person has to steer this country. Though, after the past 8 years of executive power grabbing, that is understandable. The challenges ahead of this remarkable man are formidable. Someone said to me tonight, "Probably everyone will be mad at him within two months of his being sworn in, he's going to have to make so many hard decisions." Maybe.
But tonight. Tonight. An historic night I shared with two of the most important people in my life as well as millions of other Americans who are seeking a new path together.