Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy, Hopeful, Addicted

Last night, after spending nearly two hours pacing and cleaning my office because I couldn't sit still, watching msnbc stream live on my computer (expanded to Full Screen mode because who was I kidding, I wasn't doing work), but not leaving work because I really did have SO MUCH to do, I finally gave up pretending to be a productive lawyer and headed out to an election party. The party was also in honor of one of my oldest friend's birthdays and while I was so glad to get to celebrate with her, I was dying for my laptop and TV with sound rather than closed captions. I gave in to my inner political junkie and headed home around 8pm and soon had my perfect set-up: a glass of red wine, a comfy couch, a computer on my lap opened up to my five favorite political websites, and the TV remote in my hand, flipping between MSNBC and CNN. It was heaven.

And then, I got to watch my guy win. I have never thought Barack Obama was perfect or the answer to all of America's problems, but I do think he will be a great president. I think he is extraordinarily intelligent, confident, and willing to listen. I disagree with some of his positions, but it seems to me that a president's agenda almost never gets effectuated- what matters as much as anything is the way he presents himself and the way he represents America to the world, and in that respect Obama is a big step up. Seeing the faces of the people in Grant Park, watching the videos of people lined up around the block to vote, thinking about what election day means for every American no matter your views- I could not stop crying.

I'm almost embarassed to admit it, but I went to bed before Obama's speech. Landon has not yet accepted daylight saving's time and I was exhausted, but I DVR'd msnbc and planned to watch it when I got up (for some reason I really wanted to see it on TV rather than an internet clip). And so this morning at 6am with a Landon in my lap, I watched his acceptance speech. And I sobbed. And the truth is, it wasn't even that Obama won, though I'm happy about that, it was just all the emotions of the night. McCain's concession speech was also moving. It was classy and heartfelt in a way I hadn't seen from him in this election and I couldn't help but think that if he'd sounded a bit more like that during the campaign the results would have been a lot closer. His supporters on the other hand... well, I hope they decide to emulate their candidate. I think one of the biggest messages I found in this campaign is that voting FOR something or someone is more motivating than voting against them. McCain seemed to spend a lot more time telling people why they shouldn't vote for Obama instead of why they should vote for him, and while the negatives and scare tactics will get people talking and shaking their heads (and sending chain emails), it won't necessarily get them to wait in line for two hours to cast their ballot. The faces of the people in Grant Park really believed in something and even if you disagree with every one of their beliefs, it was still rather amazing to behold.

So here I am, still not sleeping or working because it turns out all those political websites I was watching up to the election are still there, and now they're filled with fascinating behind-the-scenes campaign details. I'm deeply disappointed in the results of California's Proposition 8 ballot measure; I'm a little amazed that a senator who was recently indicted on 7 felony counts won his reelection bid (seriously Alaska?); I'm still in awe at the states Obama managed to win (Bush won Indiana by twenty points in 2004 and Obama flipped it, that's amazing); and I'm really, really sad I couldn't join my friends in Grant Park (which we could have walked to from our first Chicago apartment - argh!). I'm excited about the years ahead. I'm excited to have a new president to read about, criticize, praise, and see made fun of on the Daily Show. I'm hopeful that someday my children won't get why it was such a big deal that we elected a half-black man named Barack Hussein Obama as their president because electing someone on their merit rather than their name or color will be all they know. I'm happy, I'm hopeful, I'm completely addicted to politics. It's a good time to be an American.


  1. Yay, Obama! I'm still riding the euphoria... even the hate brigade in California (and Arkansas, etc.) can't bring me down!

  2. Amen, Amen, Amen!!!!