Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Grant Park, Election Night, 2008

Feel the love.

This is what it sounded like when CNN called it on the jumbotron . . . The bouncing is me jumping uncontrollably.

For the first time in more than ten years, I trust in my President. He is humble, and that is more of a relief to me than I could ever have anticipated. He says he will be honest, and I actually believe him. He makes me believe we can do better.

In Grant Park, it didn't feel so much like we had elected one man as that we had lifted roughly half of America up from apathy and frustration. I'm not expecting miracles from this one man, but I am expecting that the positive energy he's harnessed will serve us for years to come. I am so proud to be an American today.

I've gotten so used to feeling jaded, powerless, and fearful about my government that last night took me by surprise. I wasn't taking anything for granted. Even after Pennsylvania and Ohio had been called, I felt chest pains waiting in line. But over the course of the night, a huge weight lifted. It feels so good to feel patriotic without cynicism and to take pride in how the rest of the world sees this country.

Gretchen's camera makes it look like we were closer than we actually were. It took a piggyback ride from Jason for me to get an actual glimpse of the man. Still, I would not trade being in that sea of happy people at the moment Obama won for anything.

The vibe on the streets of Chicago after Obama's speech was strangely peaceful -- not subdued, but joyful and content. Cops stood in rows on the sidewalks maintaining a presence, but they were happy too, and their biggest job was smiling for pictures. All the downtown streets were closed, so we walked northwest from the park and crossed the river. Walking in the middle of the streets afforded us a rare view of our beautiful city. People danced on the walls that split Michigan Avenue, and I don't think I've ever felt so much unity among a truly diverse crowd of people.

I walked past the saxophone player who can be heard playing "Hail to the Chief" about 20 seconds into this vid . . .


Anonymous said...

That second video, of people singing and dancing, made me choke up. Hooray! Thank you for sharing your pics and videos of that historic night...

Anonymous said...

I could have sworn I saw your hat in the crowd! I was watchin it in Denver while Nicholas was in Austin. Even thru the tv, it was emotional, I can't imagine how cool it must have been.