Thursday, November 6, 2008

Change is A’Comin’

In a way this post feels totally unnecessary; thousands of people all around the world have discussed the election results and how they think it will affect our country, and expressed their joy, apprehension etc. over what it all means. But it’s taken me a full 36 hours to just process the enormity of it all; partly because I was exhausted from my election inspector duties, and partly because my feelings are just too BIG for me to really get a handle on. So indulge me a little as I ramble.

Driving home from the King Cty election depot Tuesday night, I encountered the thousands of people partying, dancing, and celebrating in the streets of downtown. Since I was kind of stuck because the street that I was driving on was blocked, I parked on a side street and got out to join the crowd. It was overwhelming. I was immediately reminded of WTO; but this time there was no malice, nothing scary; just pure happiness rolling off people. People smiling and crying with joy. It was surreal. I was exhausted because I’d been up since 4am so I made my way back to my car and drove home; encountering the tail of the huge crowd of similar revelers in Capitol Hill as well. And the next day to find out that similar celebrations had happened in streets all over the world really made the importance of this election outcome hit home.
My body wanted to sleep but when I got home Tuesday I had to tune in to all of the news channels to see results etc. I finally got to hear Obama’s acceptance speech. Glorious, but my reaction was muted because of fatigue.

Wednesday morning the first thing I noticed was that it was bright and clear and sunny. It was supposed to be rainy and gray – coincidence? Or was the atmosphere even excited about our new President-elect?

I was glad that I had the day off because I was strangely emotional. I thought about my beautiful mother a lot, and how much she would’ve LOVED what was happening. I cried tears of regret. I cried tears of envy watching the people stopping by the Lincoln memorial to celebrate. God, to be in DC on this day would have been great. I cried tears of relief for the end of the Bush era.
I cried on my way to meet friends for dinner when I heard on NPR of the thousands of people in cities like DC, NYC, and Philly who waited in line at newsstands to get a newspaper (any newspaper!) that would commemorate this important event. “Obama Wins!” proclaimed headlines, that people wanted to save as pieces of history for their children and grandchildren. My friend Andrea saved her and Al’s “I voted” stickers to place in their sons’ baby books.
It’s such a big deal!
So I find myself two days later with a heart that’s still leaping with joy and anxious for the changes that are sure to come. On a sour note, the bright light of hope has diminished somewhat with the passing of Proposition 8 in California. Seriously? I’m shocked that there are that many close-minded assholes out there. I still don’t think that it will go much further, but the fact that the state has already stopped issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples is totally depressing.
I guess I wouldn’t recognize my country if it wasn’t disappointing me at least a little bit.

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