Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Last night was an amazing experience. I spent the evening in a local Brooklyn restaurant/bar with a large group of friends and several hundred others, being swept away by wave after wave of ecstasy as new states were announced in the Obama column. After the past two elections, it was so hard to believe that it would not somehow be stolen away at the last minute, but as the evening wore on, people began to lower their guard.
When CNN called it for Obama, the entire city erupted in a roar. The bar we were in was on the second floor, with a rooftop patio overlooking the street below. Inside, hundreds of people were packed together, arms raised above their heads, screaming and jumping and laughing and crying and screaming some more. Outside, the streets were suddenly filled with people, cars, buses, bikes, and noise of all kinds. It was a scene from the overthrow of a dictator's regime in a third-world country but without the violence. It was like the city had won the World Series or the Super Bowl, but without the violence.
Makeshift bands marched down the street banging on pots and pans, cars honked incessantly, three times in a row for O-ba-ma. Flags were being waved out of car windows, people stood up through their sunroofs waving signs. And this was just a small neighborhood street in Brooklyn. Times Square must have been amazing.
Every person, without fail, had a grin from ear to ear. For hours, people just roamed the streets hugging, shouting, honking, laughing, lighting firecrackers, celebrating with strangers. I can't adequately express how wonderful it was to be a part of such a giant leap forward for this country, and how grateful I am that I was in a city that can truly appreciate it en masse. I feel for my friends in states that voted for McCain, with only a handful of people to celebrate with.
Two other victories I am excited about are the passage of Prop 2 in California, an historic vote to ban certain cruel farming practices, and the success of Question 3 in Massachussetts, which bans dog racing in that state.
All around the country, people stood up and said "enough with the bullsh*t." For the first time in many years, I'm proud to be an American. Time to take the Canadian flag off my backpack.