Thursday, November 06, 2008


It was electrifying. My whole body tingled and I could feel my eyes widen with disbelief. But it was true. Barack Obama had just been declared the 44th President of the United States.

Giant TV screens surrounded the huge ballroom at the Mayflower Hotel. Each was tuned to a different station and each station was announcing the same amazing truth:

Barack Obama is the next President of the United States.

It really happened. It's a new world. A new dawn and a new day. Like a mantra, those words kept running through my mind.

Every few seconds the words flashed on a different screen: Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States, and the roar went up again. I was hugging and high-fiving strangers in all directions. Everybody was hugging and high-fiving; dancing and clapping and waving their arms in the air.

Every time I tried to take a picture with my cellcam an incoming text message knocked it out of the box before I could save it.

Glenn: Obama takes Virginia... Prez.
Mary: Is. This. Happening?
Christina: Yes we can!
Shirlene: Byebye Bushie.
Christina: Nevada went Blue!
Glenn: Biblical.
Obama: We just made history. All of this happened because you gave your time, talent and passion to this campaign. All of this happened because of you. Barack.

The circuits were busy. I couldn't call anyone to let them hear the joyful racket. So I just looked around in amazement. All the happy faces. Smiles and tears everywhere. Larger than life on the TV screens. People waving at us from Grant Park in Chicago. Us waving back. People in Kenya dancing, rejoicing.

I took some more pictures but my Samsung Gleam takes the worst pictures of any cellphone I've ever owned, and I’ve owned a few. I knew I wouldn't be able to capture the magic of the moment, but I had to at least try.

Suddenly the TV screens showed McCain heading for the stage, followed by the ever-exquisitely dressed Cindy. A concession? So soon? It was just past eleven and the polls in California had barely closed. Everyone in the room applauded him. Nobody booed. This moment was much too big for smallness.

“My friends,” he said, and I breathed a sigh of relief at not having to hear that phrase many more times. But he did a nice job. He was very generous. I got the distinct feeling he was actually relieved.

When Obama came to make his acceptance speech, it was almost too much. The crowd in Chicago was gigantic. Everyone was beyond happy. McCain could never have created this much happiness had he won. Nobody could. This was huge and everybody knew it.

Biblical, said Glenn. And it was.

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