Wow.

I don’t even know if I have the words.

I went to my polling place yesterday, waited in line for about 5 minutes, and stepped up to the booth. I filled in the oval next to my candidates, with great pride. I kept checking the ballot to make sure I filled it out correctly. I did not want to screw this up. And I kept marveling at the names on the ballot, as if they would change the next time I looked.

I’ve never been this excited to vote for a particular candidate– not since Clinton in 1992 (my first presidential election), but this eclipses that by far. 

I went home and we started to watch the early results before I headed to dog class with Otis. I was relieved for the break. It was too early to call. I left the house around 6:15, then returned at about 7:30. I cracked open a Flying Dog Porter to relax a bit. Tim continued to curse at people who said “an historic” instead of “a historic.” 

More results slowly trickled in, county by county at times. We flipped channels between CNN and MSNBC, while looking at Twitter on our laptops. At 9:00, we watched the Comedy Central coverage. 

At the end, they announced that Obama was the president-elect. The gravity of the situation didn’t hit me right away. We turned back to CNN, and I stared at the words “Obama Elected President” on the screen as if it were a dream. 

We watched McCain’s concession speech. He was gracious in defeat. Then we waited for Obama to appear in Grant Park. He delivered a truly inspiring speech, one of unity and hope. 

(And it is my hope that this is the beginning of the end of the huge divide in this country. There has been no civility among people who disagree, just a bunch of yelling and name-calling and whining and finger-pointing. I want a return to a civilized discussion, where people can respectfully express their views even if they’re on opposite sides of the political spectrum. And it’s okay to agree to disagree. Really. Nobody’s going to think you’re a weaker person if you admit that the other person has a point.) 

I’m still in a state of shock. Happy shock, though.

A couple random thoughts:

When was the last time the rest of the world celebrated for us and with us? It was truly amazing to see how other countries were affected by the outcome, and to see them react so positively to something we did.

This comparison doesn’t even come close, but I’m going to bring it up anyway. Just before the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, ending an 86-year drought, there was a thread called “Win it For…” on the Sons of Sam Horn board. Members posted stories of loved ones, many of whom passed on without their team winning a title. It was extremely moving.

I’m seeing similar stories of people who voted for Obama, wishing that their deceased relatives could have lived to see this day. These stories have a much deeper and broader impact, obviously, considering that at one time many people were denied entry to facilities based on the color of their skin, and now they’re seeing a black president elected. Even as someone who is white, it’s inspiring to think that anything truly is possible.

(Well, unless you’re gay. Last night was bittersweet. As much as I savored the Obama victory, the Arkansas, Florida, and Arizona votes were a huge step backwards for civil rights, and the California proposition is too close to call.)

But, for the most part, I’m finally proud of the direction this country is headed. They’ve had their eight years. Now it’s somebody else’s turn. And it has the potential to be amazing.

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2 Responses to “Wow.”

  1. laurie Says:

    i say “an historic.” because that H is pretty well swallowed up. so it’s more like “an istoric.”

    do you say “a honor”?

  2. Michele Says:

    I think “an historic” flows better, especially if you’re a news anchor trying to get information out as quickly as possible. But Tim’s still bugged by it. Just one more thing to tease him about.

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