It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I guess writing requires a certain amount of inspiration. But if I wasn’t inspired by the events of last night, I don’t know what would inspire me.
As I sat in my living room among friends, we watched the electoral vote count climb higher and higher until Obama hit 270 - actually earlier than we thought it would happen. And after watching McCain’s speech (which was very impressive I thought), we awaited hearing Obama’s victory speech. We began to hear explosions outside, and when we went out to our porch, we saw fireworks flying over Ballard. Cheers rang out down our street from people inside and outside their homes, and we joined in.
Banners on the streets of Chicago this morning. [Credit: silversprite]
My roommates went out to celebrate and told me later that the bar scene was pretty crazy and the streets of Capitol Hill were packed full of spontaneous celebrations. I was feeling pretty tired and had a quiet night of reflection. As excited as I am, I know this is simply the beginning of a time of change for our country. We have a lot to do, but I take hope in the fact that we finally have a President I can be proud to support as an adult.
You see, growing up in Texas I was pretty patriotic -it was somewhat indoctrinated into me as a Boy Scout. We all loved the first Bush, and W was a pretty good governor we thought. I swear he came to my school once. I remember “voting” in the 2000 election at Jersey Village High School and proudly cast my vote for George W. Bush. Though he won our school election in a landslide, we were all worried when the results were too close to call until weeks later. Thankfully, the “good guy” won.
My views only changed after moving to California and going to Stanford. I credit the atmosphere there and especially my freshman roommate Jon who was a huge liberal. We would have debates in our room about the Iraq war and where or not it was about WMDs or oil. I think I finally started singing a new tune when then evidence was released about no WMDs in Iraq.
Since then it’s been a gradual change from the Republican side to the Democrats. I voted absentee in Texas (from Stanford) for Kerry, but still didn’t know that much. The ensuing years allowed me to learn a little more about politics, but I imagine many of my peers and classmates would agree that it was 0nly when Obama began his campaign for President that I really took notice. I read part of his book Audacity of Hope and paid attention to the news more. This was the first year I watched all 3 Presidential debates. I suppose the economy’s sitution and my still somewhat unresolved employment status contributed to my interest.
Yesterday was the first time in a long time I’ve truly been proud to be an American. After dropping off my ballot at the polling center, I eagerly awaited the results. And as the night’s events unfolded, my eyes teared up, my heart swelled, and I had flashbacks of singing patriotic songs at Reed Elementary School in Houston.
I’m excited to see what impact his election will have in the US, but also around the world as people’s perceptions change. Maybe I won’t have to sew a Canadian flag on my backpack anymore. More than simply watch though, I think we all (especially young Americans) need to continue our involvement with the political system. It’s begun, and Obama will lead the country, but we will each contribute to our children’s future in our own unique ways.