Friday, November 7, 2008

O-Ba-Ma

I’m not ready to stop talking about this yet.

One thing I love about Tuesday – one of the many many things I love about Tuesday – about Tuesday before Tuesday became Tuesday – before our man won, and everything changed – was the excitement of that morning.

It felt like Election Day Central around here. All the peeps were emailing madly that morning:

Jennie, in New London, Connecticut, wrote first thing and said:
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I woke up early, couldn't stop thinking about voting. Brushed my teeth, put on a hat, put on a jacket and boots and went and voted in my jammies!!!

I emailed that to my sisters and mom, natch, and Jacquie, in San Diego, texted back a little later:
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I took Jennie's lead and came in my jammies to vote. I'm in line.

MB, in NYC, was next:



I tried to vote before work and the line was literally down the block -- I would have been in line for hours, so I'll vote later. I have never seen lines like that. I think that's a good sign! For change!!

Julie, in Asheville, North Carolina, wrote:
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I Voted.
And now I'm on the trailhead. Yay, my favorite place on earth. And we're about to elect the good Mr. Obama into office. Shut In is behind me, Thanksgiving lies ahead. This is a good moment in my life. No lines at the polls this morning in Montford. I went at 9:30. It was a great feeling to darken that oval for Obama.

Jane, near Chicago, chimed in:
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me too. Doug had to wait 45 minutes at 6am, I breezed right in at 9. SO EXCITED. still a little scared, but i think it's going to happen.

(And for more on Jane, tune in tomorrow peeps, tune in tomorrow.)

Jacquie, a bit later:

I had a line at 7:10, but am done and home at 7:40. I just couldn't risk it getting longer in an hour, and it's sprinkling out!

And MB, later:

And by the way, when I got back to my voting place (neighborhood school) around 5:45 pm, there were 2 people in line at my election district area. I was out of there quickly -- I guess everyone voted in the morning!

[With the addition of my sister Ann who voted early in Illinois, and Mistah and I, who absentee-voted in Far West Texas, I think we've got all the U.S. Time Zones about covered].

My friends MartyJoCo and Dawn took the day off work to carry signs and drive voters for the Obama campaign in New London.

That night….



Mistah and I went downtown, to U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney’s soon-to-be-victory party, in New London. My college friend Christine was there as were her mom, her sibs, her mom, her in-laws, her kids, her nieces and nephews. I loved being amid the Family.

Joe and his wife (Christine's sister) were in a room somewhere else, but their 2 kids were in the big room with us, and Joe’s son – who *we* just called "The Congressman's Son" – had an iphone or something, and *he* was the one feeding us info – "Obama got Ohio!" – before the tv did. It was *so* cool, and *so* exciting.

Courtney won his US congress seat in 2006 by 83 votes. Tuesday night, he won by a two-to-one margin. He won every town. He made his speech, and said, "let's go watch the good guy win the presidency."

And all of a sudden, that moment. That defining moment. Maybe it *is* cliche, but I'll never forget it. Being there, in the middle of a political rally, all eyes on the tv at 11, when it was announced, "Barack Obama Elected the next President of the United States."

We listened to Obama's incredibly awesomely gracious, confident, calm, presidential speech back at the Tavern. We were all in tears. Okay, *I* was in tears. We drank more, we got home late, we stayed up late.

Jacquie, later:



Ain't it all just so grand? My kids were so into it, they were just as anxious as I was. We met Autumn and her kids at Oggi's and watched results, but were home for the big announcement, and we all just jumped around and whooped and hollered. I had been foolishly watching early exit polls at work, so I was veeeery nervous. We watched both speeches silently, until Barack said that his girls could bring a puppy to the white house - then Bill and I yelled out in unison "Don't do it!"

Congrats everyone, we did it!!!


My cousin Brian – okay, my mom's cousin's husband – a London taxi driver:



Faith again in your nation? The more I think, the more emotional I become--Civil Rights, Rosa Parks, Martin, Bobby etc.

Well, last night Grosvenor Square and surrounding streets around the US Embassy were closed off for thousands of people waiting and celebrating from 5 in the afternoon here. That has never happened apart from the famous 1968 Vietnam and other anti-war demonstrations since.

It's a new day and a new world, we all wait in hope. Keep the peace!

An most importantly of all, Chapel Hill Girl, our newly registered, always aware, 18-year-old rock star niece:



North Carolina had closed the polls but the numbers kept changing. Obama was never up by more than a couple percentage points in NC. We were scattered across the floor and beds chit chatting and keeping an eye on the numbers for hour. Then a whole slew of states closed their polls around 11. More chatter. A glance at the television screen. Wolf Blitzer-"At this time CNN is projecting Obama as the winner of the presidential race." Silence.

Screaming outside.

Running out to the hallway.

Jumping.

Hugging.

It was the most unbelievable thing. We did it. We actually did it. There was so much emotion and nothing to do with it but scream and jump. And run. We ran to Franklin Street. It's about a mile from our dorm, and we ran. Cars were honking horns, people were yelling from windows, and we were yelling back. Waving signs and shouting at the top of our lungs, a whole parade of people made their way up to North Campus.

When we finally reached Franklin, there was a huge group of people gathered in the middle of the intersection. Police cars had blocked off the streets and were shouting and clapping along with us. We stood there for two hours. We chanted "Yes We Did", "Obama", and "USA". We sang the National Anthem, God Bless America, and our Alma Mater. And we danced. We did the electric slide. I don't know who started it, all I know is some girl wearing stilettos stepped on my toe and now it’s got a big gash in it. Then it was time for Obama's speech. Someone had had the presence of mind to bring an enormously large boom box. The crowd fell silent (and yes, this sounds cliché, but it's true, it was amazing) and we listened to his speech.

When it was over everyone held hands and made a huge circle, we are talking several hundred people making a circle, or as my friend Laura so observantly pointed out, a big O, in the middle of an intersection. We held hands and cheered and then ran to the center and jumped up and down. We started our walk home shortly after. None of us could speak because our throats hurt so bad from screaming for hours on end and were all completely emotionally drained. I will remember that experience for the rest of my life.

And at 12:30 am, North Carolina was announced as Blue. Obama won 49.9% to 49.5%. The way I see it, that difference could be the result of the 6,000 plus new voters registered by the UNC Young Democrats.

Thanks, Col. Thanks everybody. We did it.

14 comments:

BrianW said...

Here next day in Derrylondon, there was an air of relief on the street, you could see it in people's faces. Many in my taxi freely commented on the result and nearly all were positive and optimistic. the others just cynical they're all the same types. Couldn't get a quality newspaper after noon, as hard to find as a WMD. Can somebody please let us know when Dubbaya is seen back in Texas. I need closure x

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

We should never stop talking about it, and we need to all remember to vote for Obama again when 2012 rolls around.

Springer Kneeblood said...

You captured it, Ellie. What an incredible feeling of elation, all across the nation.

Nancy said...

Well said!
And oh, by the way ...
YES, We Can!

Kathi D said...

What a day, what a day, what a wonderful day!

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Great recap, Ellie!

Hi Brian! You're mom's cousin.... so what on earth does that make us? I'm your first cousin once removed, but what are you ? My first-plus-one cousin? At any rate, very cool to see you here.

I also enjoyed the e-mail exchange with Beth when we were whining about how obnoxiously loooong Tuesday was being, when she said:

"i want my knight in shining armor. to win. right now."

Now can we get back to talking about german automobiles? Geez, where is your sense of urgency?

Jacquie

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Love it, Ellie, from London to New London, to Chapel Hill to Grant Park (yes, folks, tune in tomorrow for that first-hand account), you captured the election elation all around the nation (and world).

My favorite comments:
Julie's "It was a great feeling to darken that oval for Obama."

Bill and Jacquie's simultaneous yell of "Don't do it!"

Colleen's "And at 12:30 am, North Carolina was announced as Blue."

and Brian's "It's a new day and a new world, we all wait in hope."

NucMEd is Hot said...

I totally cried too, heck, I cried again just now reading your recap. I let my girls stay up late and watch the announcement, and when the nine year-old ask why they got to, I told them because it was history and it was time and finally a good guy was going to win....still weepy.

Great post Ellie

Captain Dumbass said...

It's great that you're still so excited by it, and you should be.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Jacquie, our Mom and Brian's bride Sheila are first cousins -- actually, half-first-cousins: Sheila's dad and our mom's mom were half-brother and -sister in the Old Country. Sheila's dad and his brothers emigrated from Ireland to England; our Grammy and her new man immigrated from Ireland to Boston. Since Mom and Sheila are first cousins (well, half, oh never mind), you and I are first-cousins-once-removed with Sheila. And first-cousins-once-removed-in-law with my man Brian.

Got that?

And thank you, Brian. Thanks for your international input. You've been enriching my life with your pithy and erudite words for 24 years now, since I spent a semester in London as a college junior. But that, godhelpme, is a story for another day.

Ellie

Kathi D said...

Dang, Ellie, you are good.

Rick and I have Cousin Mitch, whose mother is Rick's father's first cousin. We have never been able to figure out what kind of cousin he is, so we all decided on plain "cousin." What is he, though?

Also, Rick has a cousin whose daughters we always call our nieces. Is that Wrong?

My head hurts now. No it doesn't, we have a new President-Elect!!

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Kathi D:

If Rick's Dad and Mitch's mom are first cousins, Rick and Mitch are second cousins.

Rick's cousin's daughters are Rick's first-cousins-once-removed. Rick's kids would be those kids' second cousins.

Got that?

Ellie

Me, You, or Ellie said...

This is more confusing than the electoral college.

Kathi D said...

Thanks, Ellie, got it.

Will I remember it? No. But I got it.