Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Obama's election: As beautiful as a tree in fall
Last night, I wept tears of joy when Barack Hussein Obama won. During his speech, I wept again. Nothing could stop it. My inner cynic kept piping in with warnings, ironic quips and social sarcasm. For once, I didn't listen. It just wasn't worth stripping the moment of it's beautiful, hope-filled, patriotic quality. Because last night, I felt unabashadly patriotic. I know I'm not alone.
The past few elections have had the feeling of being some kind of sports contest, with the winner getting the trophy and the champagne, and the loser getting the sneers and the heave-ho. It didn't feel that way last night. McCain's graceful concession speech helped to set the tone for the historic occasion, making clear that--although the race was over--the real work is yet to come. Obama furthered that impression. I wept tears that came from that place of joy down deep, where the euphoria of mere sports victory pales in comparison. It felt more like giving birth. Last night on the streets, people were screaming with joy, blowing whistles, skipping and dancing. It was beautiful.
Today, going to Chelsea for a press check, I was amazed that my own personal feelings resonated in the air. On every block, people of New York seemed to be walking a dreamlike state of euphoria. You could see hope in every set of eyes. They moved in slow motion. They treated other people on the sidewalks like neighbors, fellow humans. The day lasted so long, it was like the clock slowed down so we could all stay in this state of bliss for just a couple minutes longer. United states of euphoria.
Maybe it will last all the way until the inauguration. Maybe it ends tonight. But the memory of it won't fade from my mind any time soon. To know that what was once a dream has become a reality is perhaps the most enabling outcome of all from this election. To apply the lesson to everything. To not give up dreams in the face of obstacles. To be as beautiful as a tree in fall on Leroy Street.