Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yes. We. Did.

I'm usually not political here on the blog.  Well, save for that Obama graphic to my right...

Okay, so to say I didn't care about what happened on election night would be a big FAT LIE.  I cared very much.  

So after pulling the big red lever (Liz Maverick hearts the big red lever and you can see it, and great coverage of our eve...) myself, I flitted about the City, feeling nervous, excited, leery, hopeful, jaded, all at the same time.  There was an electricity in New York City, beyond that of the usual rat-race.  Walking across Times Square, the crowds gathered for the CNN broadcast drove it home that it was really happening.  And then there was a random float of people dressed up in elaborate pirate costumes promoting Captain Morgan's rum and an element of surreality added to the mix.

Sharing the evening with friends was definitely in order. I needed people near me, because I was an emotional/physical space-cadet. I almost walked on to the entirely wrong train had Hope Tarr not gently grabbed my elbow to steer me towards an alternate train towards Brooklyn, where our hostess awaited. Thanks for the party, Megan!

I do have my own photos of the evening, but alas, due to technical difficulties, I cannot upload them because my laptop is currently possessed by the Devil.

Here's a little personal play by play.

I had my eye on a few key states of emotional significance, many of which were battleground. Pennsylvania, since I campaigned in Philadelphia, Minnesota, since I lived there for a few years, Florida, lived there too, and lastly... Ohio.  Home state. 

We saw Pennsylvania.  Blue.  Happy Dancing abounded.  (Really, there was authentic Happy Dancing).  Then I heard Minnesota went for our team, and Wisconsin (Marcos' home state where he'd been campaigning all week.  Good job, love!).  Every state win was like a world series ending home run.  More kicks and Molly Shannon cheerleader poses.  Then Ohio was called by Fox. (We were switching back and forth to see the excitement or the frown lines, depending on the network)  I freaked out a little, but wasn't going to really Happy Dance until CNN called it, just for good measure.  They soon did.  I was enraptured with the maps as they turned colors (thank you, New York Times):


In my voting career, no one I had ever voted for in Ohio had ever won.  Seeing my home state, a state that has struggled and wrested over huge problems and job losses, a state with a sometimes conflicting identity and incredibly gifted people- seeing my Ohio turn "that beautiful shade of blue" was overwhelming.  I didn't realize how moved I would be until it happened.  Was on the phone with Mom & Dad, to whom I credit every ideal I've ever had, and we all tearfully shared in the Ohio victory.  Sent excited texts to my lil' Sis, who cast her first ever vote. And I called Marcos, who attended a huge election party in Wisconsin, where I heard "Yes We Did!" chanted in the background. 

And so as the electoral votes kept ticking upwards, there was much dancing and much sobbing, particularly during Obama's pitch-perfect acceptance speech.  Critics have slammed his idea of  "HOPE". But that's the thing about Hope, it's very hard to suffocate.  It wants to live, and help us live better.

As the hours waned late, still reeling from the adrenaline and emotion, we encountered what the dear and utterly un-ironically named Hope mentioned;  the impromptu drum circle on newspaper bins at Union Square.  Awesome.  (Until the cops gently said the time had drawn nigh for the loud noise and the people dancing on the telephone booths.  It was, after all, after 4am.)  But jumping and clapping and high-fiving with complete strangers for a common cause really has its thrill.

And then the next day... I was still feeling the high, and I wasn't alone.  I kept running into strangers on the street who said "It's a great day, isn't it?" to which I said "Amen."

My favorite moment came when I passed a group of grade-school kids in Upper West Side Manhattan who were on recess.  They were all in a huge group, facing the sidewalk and screaming, grinning, jumping, clapping, and chanting:  "Yes, we can..." for all the city to hear and appreciate.  A young girl held up a newspaper with Obama's picture on it and was pointing, screaming "That's my President!" - Yep.  There I went, all choked up again. (After having cheered with the kids as I walked by).

Since Marcos wasn't back yet from the campaign trail, it was my duty to collect all the daily papers.  So I wandered the city trying to find a New York Times.  Every single stand. Sold out.

I decided to try the shiny new New York Times building itself, on 8th Avenue. 

When in doubt, go to the source. I saw a loooong line stretching up the entire block.  I approached the security guard, gestured towards the line, opening my mouth when he immediately replied, "Yes, that's the line to get a paper."  Okay, then.  The NYT editorial board had to mention this phenomena in a brief, encouraged blog post.  The line was not irritating or inconvenient, it was exciting.  

We were all there for the same thing, and in the end, that's what this is all about.   

We all wanted a tactile piece of history.

And we made it, HOPE intact.


Hope Tarr said...

Great post, Leanna. I couldn't have scripted a better Election Day or a better group of souls with whom to share it, to dance and laugh and yes, cry. (Tears of joy, well, I could get used to it).

Precious few moments in life are truly perfect. Last Tuesday stands out as one of them.

Megan Frampton said...

It was awesome. Thanks for being there.

sula said...

What a great post. Thank you for your contributions in PA, and how effing awesome was it to see Ohio turn blue?!?!?! About as exciting as it was for us here in Virginia who had worked our collective behinds off for the past several months. And states like Indiana and North Carolina!!! Truly, the map got a major redraw. I'm still in a state of shock. And hope.

November 4, 2008 is definitely going down in my personal history as one of the most important days ever. :-)

Anonymous said...

I can relate to your excitement about Ohio--though in my case it was Indiana, because that meant every state I'd lived in (Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Indiana, and New Jersey) went for Obama--Indiana seemed the one that was most in doubt the whole way along.