Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We made history

Tonight. Was. The. Best.

No kidding around, either.

First of all, and this is the basis for my good day, the U.S. has spoken: Barack Obama will be our 44th President.

Now for my story:

Today, after tutoring, I ran upstairs to Mort for a few minutes to drop off my book bag (so heavy!) and to eat a bowl of cereal (Colossal Crunch). Then, I mosied on downstairs and over to the Seward Apartments, which are just across the foot bridge. It probably took me all of five minutes to get there.
Before I go any further, here are a few photos I took around campus. The Augsburg chapter of Students for Barack Obama pulled out all the stops for today. I admire their work-ethic.

With chalk, they drew on all the sidewalks around campus, leading to the polling place:

And, of course, I got pictures of some Auggies/other students walking back from voting.

So. MY voting experience: I walked across the foot-bridge to the Seward Apartments, and waited in line (alongside a nice Auggie who'd transferred in from Pennsylvania) for about an hour and a half before I cast my ballot. When I did, it was magical. I walked out of the building, smiling. As soon as I got onto the road (100 ft. from the polling place), I stripped off my sweatshirt to reveal my Barack shirt, and happily slapped on my red "I voted" sticker. To top it all off, I heard a crowd somewhere cheering for Obama, and a lot of car horns. Up on the foot bridge, lots of students were gathered, holding signs that said things like "OBAMA!!!" and "Vote Yes for Minnesota." Running off my just-voted-for-the-first-time-other-than-primaries high, I joined the crowd. I stayed there, cheering for Obama and signaling for cars to honk, for a little under an hour. By the time I hiked back to Augsburg (a minute-walk, if that), my voice was weak.

So even by THEN, the day had been excellent.
I've been ecstatic since.

Alan and Lily came over a little after six, and while we snacked, we watched 1) exit polling, and 2) actual results. For every state that was given to Barack, we had a "WOOOOHOOO session."

And then, of course, the west-coast polls came in, and the good people at MSNBC announced what I'd been waiting to hear since my senior year of high school: Barack Obama is the President Elect.

Then came McCain's consession speech, and then finally, Barack's victory speech. It was, as was to be expected, visionary. It hardly looked to the past; rather, it focused on the future. A smart move politically, although it was heart-touching as well.

But you know what? Now that I think about it, this night was NOT perfect. Not only is it looking like Proposition 8 (a ban on gay marriage in California--which, yes, would take away people's existing rights) will pass, in other states like Arkansas, other discriminatory proposals have already passed.
So while this night was a huge victory for me and for many, many of us in the United States, it was a disheartening night in some respects for others.
But as my friend Ian reminded me, "things will change [with Obama]."

Here's to hope: for a better tomorrow.

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