Tuesday, November 04, 2008


At a few minutes after 8pm PST this election was called for Barack Obama.

I burst into tears.

For the last month I have been saying a daily prayer that this country would make the right choice today, despite all the spin that seemed to say it wouldn't happen. Tonight my faith in this nation and the voters of this country was restored.

Not only because the right guy was elected, but because people came out and voted. Watching Times Square go off, and Morehouse college go off and all the other places in this country where people were losing their minds with joy I felt so proud and blessed to be a citizen of a democtratic nation.

This morning I was up at the ass crack of dawn so I brushed my teeth added jeans to my pajamas and headed out to vote. I got to the elementary school that is my polling place about 6:50 and there was a line down to the street. I was about the 50th person and there was a feeling of excitement and anticipation. I live in a neighborhood that's pretty racially mixed and pretty solidly middle class. The guy in front of me whose name is Oliver chatted with me about how we liked to vote and always did. Once the polls opened we stood in line for about 30 minutes before we got to the door of the gym where the voting booths are. As I was about to step in a little girl about 8 poked her head around the corner and chanted Obama! Obama! Obama!

Inside the gym an Asian lady who'd just voted asked the poll workers to take her picture as she placed her ballot in the box. A white guy took a picture of his wife and their little boy who looked to be about 4 years old. A black couple who'd just voted stopped to say hello to Oliver, the man in front of me who was my line pal. He was an older man, and his wife was a walking celebration in red, white and blue, and he said to Oliver as he hugged him, "there's going to be a black president in the White House after tonight brother - we are going to break out the champagne."

In that moment I was so aware of the fact that for the first time in our democracy this process was finally inclusive. I think this is why this election was so special. For every person in this country the first change came when Barack Obama won the nomination of the democratic party. The changes that will come have less to do with the color of his skin and more to do with his vision and my hope is that his election reflects a change in the consciousness of this country.

As I watched people weeping with joy and celebrating, as I cried myself, the hope for a new day was palpable and reminded me of the enthusiasm that surrounded JFK. Okay, I don't really remember what that was like, but it's more how it's recorded in history. As I watched John McCain make his concession speech and heard the crowd boo when he talked about Barack Obama and how much he admired him (a very gracious speech it was too), it made me think of this verse from Bob Dylan's song, Times They are a Changin' ...

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And dont criticize
What you cant understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin.
Please get out of the new one
If you cant lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin.

It feels like times really are changing and that despite those people who continue to live lives marinated in racist hatred, the majority of people are thinking about what's best for this country, and for their families, and they picked a man based on his ideas and for his ability to galvanize, inspire and lead - not the color of his skin.

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