Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes we can.

I was working for a newspaper when I was 15. The city elections were coming up and I wasn't old enough to vote, but I was working on the section of the paper that detailed the candidates' stances on various issues. I followed everyone's campaigns by the second, and when election day came, I wrote all my choices down on a piece of paper and gave them to my mom, hoping she would use her vote to represent me.

My grandmother's funeral was the day of the 2004 elections. I left the family party early; it would be the last time I'd ever step foot in the house I grew up in. My dad rushed me to the airport so I could get back to Ohio in time to vote for John Kerry. It was my first presidential election. My flight got me in with thirty minutes to spare before the polls closed; I cast my first vote. I would find out the next day, sitting on the steps in my college surrounded by all my liberal hippie friends that he had conceded.

I woke my husband up the day Barack Obama announced his intent to run for President of the United States. It was a Saturday; it was cold. I happened to turn on CNN and he was talking and I made John get out of bed to come watch it with me. I sat cross-legged on my couch and cried.

I got a yard sign the second they were available. I voted early for the primary. I rushed home from work every single day there was yet another state primary so I could watch the results roll in. I ordered pizza on Super Tuesday and sat there for hours balancing the numbers in my head.

I moved to California without a television, so I went to a bar for every single presidential debate. I slammed beers and screamed and high-fived strangers and agreed that Joe Biden's smile could convince me to do anything. I found it only appropriate to rush out of downtown to that same bar on the night of the election so I could see the results as they happened. I maxed out my text messages sending notes to everyone I knew.

I called my mother in Kansas and woke her up and it's a wonder that she could hear me over the noise of the bar when Barack Obama was named President-Elect. I sobbed as soon as they announced it. 

I walked in to work this morning and the television in our lobby was playing it. A few assorted co-workers were huddled around, so I pulled up a square of couch and joined them, skipping the first hour of work. CNN announced that Barack Hussein Obama was officially the president; I hugged my messenger bag in order to not cry in front of co-workers that barely know me.

Yes we can; yes we did. I have never cared so much about politics in my life as I did about this election. President Obama, you have an obligation to not make me look stupid. I've done as much as I can for you. Now it's your turn. 

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