Thoughts on yesterday and last night:
After the Obama rally I was fortunate to go to Monday night, I went to sleep more hopeful for this country than I had been at any point during the election. I woke up Tuesday and went to class, planning to vote after school was over; when I got to my polling place I only had to wait in line for about 45 minutes, time I was happy to share with those around me, most of whom likely voted for the same choice as I did.
I have followed Obama’s career since he gave his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention. I could tell then that he would be the future of the party, although I did not expect it to come so soon. When I would talk to people about the 2008 election, I would tell them that I liked Obama but didn’t think he would run this time; I thought he might wait until 2012 or 2016. But I believe he made the right choice to run at this time, and I began to support him in earnest after reading Andrew Sullivan’s essay “Goodbye to All That,” written for The Atlantic. I saw in Barack Obama a change for this country, a transformation from the us versus them mentality of the Baby Boomer generation who cut their teeth on the divisiveness of Vietnam. Since Obama was too young to be caught up in all that, I believed he saw a world where people could work together in spite of differences.
Once he announced his candidacy for the Presidency, I threw my support fully behind him. I wanted him to beat the Clinton machine, and I had confidence that he would. The way I had seen him run his campaign up to that point, and things I had heard and read that he said, told me he would. I went and saw him speak to a fairly small crowd last January, on my birthday actually, and I knew then for sure that this was a different sort of candidacy. It was easy to see from the diversity of the crowd there to hear him. As he ran his campaign, any doubts about his readiness to lead dropped away. From beginning to end, in beating the Clinton machine and the entire Republican party, it was an almost flawless campaign.
You all have probably read my reasons for supporting Obama, or maybe we’ve talked about it face-to-face, so I won’t go into them again here. I will go into how I felt last night while watching the coverage on CNN, though: I became a little nervous as the first early returns came in; Obama wasn’t doing as well as I thought he needed to for there to be no doubt. But then more number started coming in, and more states got called for Obama, and once he won Pennsylvania I knew that was it. At 11pm Eastern time, the second the California polls closed, CNN called the race for Barack Hussein Obama, the mixed race son of a single mother, with Kenyan and White blood in him, age 47 and the leader of a new generation. And to be honest I became a little overwhelmed. A little crushed beneath the weight of it all. And I stayed up and watched McCain’s speech (which showed us the McCain of old: gracious, heartfelt, and willing to do anything he could to help the new President) and sat with anticipation as the hundreds of thousands, many with tears streaming down their faces, waited for their new President to speak. And then he did. And yes we can, and yes we did. And yes we still have work to do.