I will always remember Tuesday, November 4, 2008. It will rank up there in my personal lexicon of great days - as momentous an event as my birthday (which is only 9 days away - so get those birthday cards in the mail people!), or September 11, 2001 or November 2, 1990 or January 20, 2001 (days of personal significance for me). But I write this blog (and it's probably going to be a long one - just a warning), not necessarily for me. This blog is for...
...my co-worker, Geri, who asked me yesterday afternoon, "Where is your blog? I cannot wait to read what you have to say about your election day experience." I told her then that I couldn't write it because I was too overwhelmed by the emotional significance of the experience I had at the polls on Tuesday morning. (I still cannot write THAT blog, so you'll have to settle for this one);
...the woman who, with her friends, gathered at 2:30 in the morning so that they could be first in line at my polling place;
...the people who were ahead of me in line yesterday morning, who didn't know me from Adam, but who willingly shared with me why they were in line at 5:00 in the morning to cast their votes in this election;
...my brother Kevin, and my cousin Kelly, and the millions of other people who cast their votes for the first time EVER in a political election because it finally mattered enough to them for their voices to be heard;
...my mother, my father, my stepmother, my grandmother, my cousins, my friends - who vote in every election no matter what because they realize the importance and power of your vote;
...every person - Black, White, male, female, young, old, slave, free - who gave their life so that EVERY American could have the right and privilege to vote;
...all of those who have gone before who didn't live to see this day;
...Justus, who still "gets" me almost 30 years later (thanks for listening and understanding);
...Janice, whom I have never met face to face, who woke up at 4:00a in London England when the announcement was made and who was just as excited for me as I was for my country;
...Julie, who immediately agreed with me this week that we HAD to take a picture of me wearing my Obama button and her wearing her McCain button and that the caption for the picture would be "We may not always agree, but we always love each other" (or something equally sappy);
...all of my friends who disagreed with me politically and felt comfortable enough to share with their fears, concerns, and plans to leave the country if Obama won - whether they were joking as they said it or not. For my friends who got on their soapboxes and vented to me and then apologized (you know who you are) - I still love you and know our friendship is strengthened by the fact that we can agree to disagree and still call each other "friend". I put myself in their shoes and know how I would feel if the results had been different, so my heart truly goes out to them. But I pray they listened to McCain's concession speech and Obama's acceptance speech and that they will heed the call that each candidate put out for unity as a country from this point forward;
...John McCain and Sarah Palin and their families. It doesn't matter that I didn't agree totally with their ideas and their vision for this country. They ran a campaign based on their convictions and desires for a country that I truly believe they love as much as I do. Maybe more because you could not PAY me to run for President. (or any political office!) And that is the true beauty of the democracy in which I am blessed to live. I listened closely to John McCain as he spoke to the American people last night and I applaud the way he handled what had to have been a heartbreaking loss for him. I pray for him and I truly hope that he meant what he said when he said he would throw his support behind the new government because it will take all of us working together to make this work;
...everyone who stood in the long lines for early voting or cast their votes via absentee ballots - and it is even for those who, despite the "hype" of this election, decided not to participate and didn't vote;
...every person who marched or was hosed or sat down or rode a Freedom train or bus in order that we all have the right to life in a country undivided;
...every solider in every military installation around the world who fights for the freedom of those they have left behind on American soil - thank you for your service - now let's bring you home as quickly and responsibly as possible;
...every tear that was shed at 11:00 EDT as the race was called in favor of Barack Obama. Whether they were tears of joy or despair, I firmly believe you didn't cry if you weren't invested in the outcome. The passion with which people followed every move every candidate made, every word they spoke, every outfit they wore - was amazing and inspiring and gave me hope. I appreciated every conversation I had during the last 21 months - especially those where we were not in agreement - it showed to me that people were taking it seriously and not just voting because he's Black or she's a woman or "well, I've always voted (you insert the political party of your choice). People cared and that was huge! In a nation known for its apathy and "who cares" attitude, people proved that when it is important enough to them, they do care and they will show up.
I could go on (and on and on), but I have to get ready to go to work. (Yes, I am going to work today, no matter what Chris Rock said!) Five and half hours later, I am still overwhelmed by seeing history made in my lifetime. I wish everyone I knew would embrace the awesomeness of the moment. Whether your candidate won or not, this election is going down in the history books like none other before it. And you and me - we are alive to see it! How amazing is that?! What a blessing to be living in these times.
I wrote a blog last month about what I thought would happen on November 5, 2008. Let's see if my predictions come true. Be blessed.
PS: As much as I am THRILLED that Barack is our President-elect, my greatest joy is that Michelle is our First Lady! I LOVE HER!!!