After a sleepless Monday night and an early morning spent voting I decided that I would watch the election results from the comfort of my home. It was a change from my original plan to attend the rally but I was tired. I sat on the sofa as my friends talked about their trip back downtown to the rally.
I watched as CNN cameras panned the Grant Park area and I felt the electricity of the moment jump out at me from the television. At that moment I decided that despite my exhaustion my 21 month obsession with this election would not be celebrated on the sofa. It would be celebrated with the seemingly thousands of others who were headed downtown. I would not live with regret because of a little thing like sleep.
The moment did not disappoint. The air was thick with something I can only describe as HOPE! Vendors and consumers alike were taking steps towards economic improvement by selling and buying anything with Obama’s name that you could possibly think of. Entering the park was like walking into the coolest, most laid back and fun party you could ever hope to attend. I can’t speak from experience but I’m sure Diddy’s white party in the Hampton’s has nothing on Obama’s shindig!
There were jumbo screens everywhere. There wasn’t a bad seat in the house, unless you actually wanted to sit that is. I received texts from friends asking, “why are you in that mess of people?” But I looked around and as many people as there were, it wasn’t a mess (Pres. Obama does not do disorganized!). Everyone was polite, respectful, joyful and by the end of the night the crowds by you were your friends.
While the crowd was large when we first arrived it seemed to fill up in 5 minutes time. It was hard to see the sea of people from your position in front or behind them but you knew they were there. We posed for each other’s pictures, we shared lollypops and shared our own accounts on how we came to believe in this movement and what it would mean for us.
CNN announced that we won Pennsylvania (yes WE because this was our win) and we all stood there knowing deep inside ourselves that all of our hopes had come true but not wanting to say it outloud just yet. Then at 10ish when the announcement that “Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States” was made we all jumped, cheered and hugged in jubilation. Tears ran down my face. The same tears that had been building up since early that morning when I cast my vote.
We were Latinos, Whites, Blacks, Asians and everything in between. We were of every shade of human but at that moment we were ONE. We danced and rejoice and anxiously awaited for our new president to join us. As he stepped out we were overcome and I swear you could almost hear a pin fall. We saw the humility in his countenance. We saw that his hope wasn’t any different from ours. We could see that he didn’t just win the presidency but that he, with us, won an opportunity to change the world. We saw that he was humbled at the opportunity to lead us into a new direction of empowerment, health, prosperity, acceptance and dare I say it; love for one another and the country we live in.
This morning a friend text and asked, “So are you happy?” I said, “Happy doesn’t even begin to describe it.” He asked, “so then what are you feeling?” and I could only respond, “too many emotions.”
My sister was bothered this morning that a lot of the news cast were focusing their conversations on race. I told her that for the moment it was important. That her sons, my nephews, wouldn’t be hit by the reality that we faced once we grew out of our childhood naivete. They will never question how far they can go or what they can become. They will grow up in a country that accepted someone like them as a leader not in one that wondered if it would ever be possible.
Today I am even more proud to be an Hispanic American and I’m happy to have been the tiniest part in leaving a better world for our children!