I'm having a really hard time processing the events of last night, but here's my best shot.
I'm not sure I really understood what was happening at the time. Of course, I was happy, but what I really felt was shock. Yesterday, I described my mood as "optimistically nauseous." I've been following this election like crazy. I saw every poll. I was on fivethirtyeight.com at least six times a day. I can tell you, off the top of my head, how many electoral votes are allocated to each state. The past few months for me have been beyond obsessive. I'd describe them more as "psychotic." I had stress chest pains in the line for voting yesterday. I couldn't concentrate at work last night. When all the major networks had called Pennsylvania, then Ohio, then Florida for Obama, I had a hard time believing that this way, finally, things would go our way.
I finished up at work and sat in the restaurant's private dining room, waiting for Lindsey and Veronica to finish their server stuff. The west coast polls closed. Immediately, the election was called for Obama.
I think it was at that point that my brain exploded. I still wasn't sure it was really happening.
We watched McCain's concession speech. Nice and gracious. We went next door to the Old Fashioned and watched Obama's speech from the bar. At the time, I thought, "Not a bad speech."
I called Sam and she came up to meet me. We headed up State Street, and followed the noise to Bascom Hill, hundreds of people walking with us. Hit the top, charged back down the hill, to the library plaza, where people laughed, cried, and gave speeches.
I've been getting chills all day. I still can't grasp how enormous this is.
And the cynic in me comes out. I don't like to refer to it as "cynicism", I think it's more "realism." So let's figure out what this means.
Yes We Can.
Yes We Did.
Vote in an election, that is, and work incredibly hard to elect the guy we thought would take this country on a better course.
But that's not all we should be doing. Of course I'm hopeful, among many, many other things.
As President John F. Kennedy so famously said, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
Unfortunately, this era seems more focused on the former rather than the latter. It's hard to blame us when we're told it's unpatriotic, socialist even, to pay taxes. Kennedy was great because he truly understood the challenges we faced, and what we needed to do to accomplish our goals. On the other side, the only thing George W. Bush asked us to do after 9/11 was go shopping.
Whether you've supported President-elect Obama or not, we all need to work together to make this country great. We can't just hope for change. We need to act. We need to keep tabs on our elected officials. We need to volunteer. We need to fight and work to make this country better. We need to understand that we need to do more than just vote. We need to sacrifice. We need to put aside the bitterness and rancor that has divided us into two Americas, and work with those who disagree with us instead of blaming the other side as part of the problem. That's why I voted for Barack Obama. I believe he can inspire our country to do more than just sit aside and hope for change. I think he can inspire us to take action. Yes we can, yes we did, yes we will. We voted in a great candidate. Now it's time for real change.
Pictures from last night will be coming. I got a new digital camera, but the pictures are stored on the internal memory, and I have to buy a memory card to switch the pictures over to.