06 November 2008

cloud nine

so this is how it feels up here.

It feels like everyone in the world has talked about how happy they are about the election and how hopeful and full of wonder and beauty and optimism they are after Tuesday night's truly historic events. So I'll try not to be too repetitive. I just want to share my sense of awe for America. I truly do believe that I'm a patriotic person. I believe strongly in the ideals of this country; the ideals of equality and justice, of hard work and community building, of freedom and democracy. Unfortunately, those ideals are not always upheld. After Tuesday, I honestly believe that it is possible to get closer to the founding principles of this country. I'm not under any illusions that the United States will turn into some kind of utopia over the next four years, but I am inspired. I'm inspired both by our next president, President Obama (those words still give me goosebumps), and by everyone who waited hours in lines at their polling places and by everyone who voted for the first time ever (or maybe in a while). And that story about 106-year old Ann Nixon Cooper, well, just thinking about it makes me tear up.

On Tuesday afternoon, I volunteered to give rides to the polls. At about 3pm, I picked up two young African American women (one who had just turned 18 and was voting for the first time) and gave them and their three kids a ride to their polling place. I won't go into the nitty gritty details of what happened, but they almost did not get to vote. It was a long, frustrating, and discouraging two hours for them and for me. But in the end, they cast their ballots for the first African American president, and I know that they saw some hope for their own children, and for themselves. Helping someone vote is truly one of the greatest gifts, and I highly recommend it for the next time around.

In the end, I am happy, and I hope you all are too. Even if your candidate was not the winner. I truly believe that we are entering a new era in this country. And I hope it will be one that is filled with peace, justice, cooperation, and inspiration.

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