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Celebrations like no other?

I was watching the victory celebrations last night with lolitasir on CNN. Chicago, Times Square, Harlem, LA, all of these places with masses of Obama supporters banding together. The pictures on NYTimes.com this morning show Obama celebrators in Little Havana, Miami.

Other friends have shared photos of their hometowns and the mass celebrations that ensued. badfaggot shared with us images of Seattle. castrofur shared an image of San Francisco.

I've now voted in four presidential elections, and have been alive for a few more. And I can't say I ever remember seeing celebrations like this after an election. If you knew nothing about what was going on, if you totally blanked that yesterday was Election Day, staring at these images could ellicit guesses of New Years, a major local sporting win such as the Super Bowl or the World Series, or maybe even Gay Pride or something along those lines.

But an election? Never. Never in a million years would I have guessed that as the cause for such joyousness. Elections are generally much more personal. Yes, some celebrating inside public gathering points like bars and other places, but then after a round congrats, usually people just move on.

TheOnion.com has a pretty telling headline on the homepage - Nation Finally Shitty Enough to Make Social Progress.

The sad thing is they're right. And I totally get why so many people were celebrating. Why there were 120,000(!!) people in Grant Park in Chicago last night, many crying. Why Jesse Jackson was shown sobbing on the CNN screen.

This wasn't an election. This was an upheaval of emotion and desperation and passion. This was something that inspired masses of people to finally throw their hats in the air and actually celebrate living in the US.

I am soaking up the images today. I don't want to ever forget this moment. I think people will be talking about this for generations.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 5th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
When we went to bed last night around 12:30 we could here people cheering outside. In VA some amazing things happened. We turned blue for the first time since 1964. Our district house rep won by 1000 votes and I know that my household alone was responsible for 5 of those votes.

This election was an amazing experience for me because I really felt like my vote made a difference. Until now election time has always been in a blue state for me.
This was my first time in a swing state and to help swing that blue was a truly amazing thing.
So proud.
Nov. 5th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)

I'm off Union Square and in the midst of many NYU dorms with their young people. There was so much screaming and yelling and honking and celebration last night I couldn't even go to bed until around 3 a.m.

The pendulum flies in the other direction. One of the best observations about this election I heard came from comedian Chris Rock, who said (paraphrasing) that Bush did such a shitty job he made it hard for a white guy to be elected President.

Nov. 5th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
I was up at 4 to get to the polls before they opened yesterday. I've never done that before.

I've been voting for many years since 1973 in fact. I've never voted for anyone before and seen them get in. I've never felt hopeful about a change in the country since the 60s/70s. Maybe, just maybe enough people have been mobilized to realize their votes do count and they are important. Maybe, just maybe, the voices of the people will not be ignored as they have been.

And maybe, just maybe the world my children live in when I'm long gone will be a little better for what happened in 2008.

Wouldn't that be nice?
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC)
I had to be at work for a bit last night and it was interesting leaving Capitol Hill around midnight. The sound of cheering voices, honking horns and firecrackers followed me all the way out of the city.
Nov. 5th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
I had a drink in a bar and watched McCain's gracious concession speech. The crowd in the bar booed when he mentioned Sarah Palin.

I then raced down to Times Square which was nothing but jubilation and exultation. A once in a lifetime experience.
Nov. 6th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC)

They were celebrating pretty loudly much of the late evening on the LES. I was pretty chipper 'til I heard about Prop 8. Fuckwads.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )