I woke this morning in the Best Western Hotel in Chicago, across the street from Grant Park, and I felt a huge appreciation for my fellow American citizens. When Barak Obama beat out Hillary for the democratic candidate I thought for sure it was over. I just couldn't imagine that the people of this country, with all their prejudices and unwavering opinions would vote for a black president. I have never been more happy to be wrong!
Listening to him speak, at rallies on TV or during debates, I loved his calm demeanor, his seemingly inability to get rattled. I loved his “concepts”; that parents should stop blaming their child's teacher for their child's failing and turn off the TV, put away the video games, and read to their child. Accountability. He hoped that when he was elected, he could develop a program where college tuition would be paid in exchange for volunteer work or military service.
These are the kind of ideas that one would throw across the table during a chat over pasta with friends at a corner restaurant. Couldn't we do that? I mean, why not? And this man has actually stated them out loud. Not only is he a man with ideas and what I believe is the gumption to make them happen, but he's also a bit of an un-politician. Which I find funny considering how dreadfully hard Palin worked to be a non-politician. I dig it.
I also woke this morning eternally grateful to my friend, Shannon, for inviting me to meet her in Chicago, and attend what is now a historic rally at Grant Park.
Last night, Shannon and I joined my college friend Colleen and her husband, Dan in a line that ran at least seven blocks down Michigan Avenue. It took two hours and two security checks to get into Grant Park. But the weather was balmy and we enjoyed chatting with the people in front and in back of us in line. After an hour and a half, we became a bit of a clan. We would celebrate together when one of us would get off their cellphone after talking with a friend who was somewhere with a TV, updating us as the counts came in, “He just took Ohio!”. Shannon and I were especially floored and impressed by that one...until he won Florida.
By the time we got in, we were really far back in the crowd and watched the events unfold on a jumbotron. I was a surprised and a bit disappointed at how unemotional the people around me were. Somehow, I thought the place would be a weeping mess. But, no, I think the weepers were in line way before us, so they could be right in front of the stage when Obama took to it.
As the crowds made their way out of the park and into the streets of Chicago, the celebration continued. A group of twenty-somethings were wandering down the street, with one of them, a guy with a crooked hat on and some tacky Obama shirt running up to random people, “You made it happen! I made it happen! We all did it! We all did it together!”