Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes They Did.

It's been quite an evening. Having spent a whole day immersing myself in media coverage of the US election, I headed downtown to see how the final count would play out. When I left the house results were slowly starting to come in.

Now, back in England, I took more than a passing interest in what was going on over the Atlantic. I was getting into a lot of long drawn out, drunk debates where you talk so long that you forget the point you were making in the first place. Once I hit Canada, though, the game changed. I spent so much time watching news channels on cable that I became a statistical whiz, even though I've never really had much truck with numbers. I learned to read the language of the candidates (for the record, Obama, seemed to be much more comfortable with visualsing himself as President than McCain did) I also got to listen to Rush Limbaugh.


Words can't describe....

Today, I'm not even gonna front. I'm usually a little cynical for the sake of a cheap laugh, but straight up, I've seen history being made with my own eyes.

Back to the lecture at hand: I was bullshitting with Punch at the bar and getting into a steady rhythm on the Jamieson's. He was on the Ballantyne. We were both stupidly excited about the significance of the whole event. The newscasters were beginning to wax lyrical and something was definitely in the air. I am proud to say that with my three weeks of unofficial political training, I was able to guestimate that it would be a wrap by 11:00.

At 10:58 I was eating a chicken burrito, when NBC called the election for Obama. Instant goosebumps. The West Coast results had come in and he crushed the 270. Suddenly it seemed like it had been inevitable. Obama and Biden mobilised voters who had not even been considered a demographic in the past. That made The Republicans job like digging a ditch with a toy spade in order to stop a tsunami.

The cameras cut to the crowd at Grant Park in Chicago and it was a beautiful thing to watch the realisation sweeping across the gathered masses. That was followed by what I'm sure will be one of the most replayed images from tonight - a girl on her knees, crying at Spelman College in Atlanta when the results came in. In the future, when they come to make history programmes about tonight, documentary producers will track her down and ask her what was going through her mind.

Drinks were on the house.

At first I was a little wary of him - I am generally cautious when it comes to politicians anyway. I have to admit - he made a believer out of me. I am, however, gutted that I didn't pull my finger out and get down to NY as I had wanted to, but come January 20th, I'll be in DC, no doubt. Do the inaugaration, and hit a go-go club afterwards. Sweet.

Watching his acceptance speech - He had them at 'Hello Chicago...'. I've seen crowds react to two only people that way in the past. They were Jay-Z and Prince. This was some rock star shit, for real. Even Oprah was bawling. The rest of the world has been ready for this for a while now, but to see it actually happen? I mean - I saw cats walking around in Obama T-Shirts in London, this summer. Trust me when I say ain't nobody wearing a Gordon Brown T-Shirt. Just to see that many people on hand tonight was unbelievable. This is a movement. This was our generation's moon landing. The once unthinkable has become a reality. Petrol won't get cheaper over night, soldiers are not likely to be on the next plane home and people are still going to lose their homes, but America has decided to go with the person they believe will be best equipped to get them where they need to be. For better or for worse, tonight starts a new chapter in not only Black history, but also the history of the world in general.

I, for, one am exceptionally glad that the election turned out the way it did and I will tell you why. It means that all the licks I caught as kid for bringing home shitty report cards were actually justified. It may sound a little corny, but I'm gonna throw it out there anyway - with enough hard work, you can acheive whatever you put your mind to. With that said, I could have been the most powerful man on the planet. But then who would have written this blog for you to read?

McCain's concession speech was gracious and he seemed genuine in what he was saying. He hushed his supporters who began booing at the first mention of Obama's name."That One" became "My President". The moment felt like the soliloquy Sarah Connor gave at the end of Terminator 2, when she's talking about feeling like there is a new future unfolding before her; like the script that everyone was working on has undergone a small change that could have a major impact on how the story will go from here on in. Trust me, I'm not saying that this is going to improve the world straight away, but you have to start somewhere.

My favourite election night moment, however, was the paraphrasing of George W.
Bush's phone call to the President Elect just before he took the stage. If the media are to be believed, the word "awesome" was used. Not in the biblical context of being 'awe inspiring'. No - it was water-slide-description-awesome.

I know, I said no cynical bullshit tonight, but it was a sitter.....

And then there was the speech. He beasted it. Equal parts motivational speaker, politician, activist and reverend. The charisma. The call and response 'Yes We Can's. He acknowledged his nan (R.I.P). Everything about this was right. And just to cement his good guy status, he promised his daughters a puppy. I'm gonna stop there, before I start to sound like a Stan. Then to end he brought everyone out. The Mrs, the kids, Joe The Vice President Elect, Mrs. Joe The Vice President Elect, the below the line staff.

For sure, I feel privileged that I was alive to see this happen, because I honestly didn't think it would happen in my lifetime. I guess it must mean a whole lot more to older generations. By this evening, please believe that an Obama script will have been greenlit by a movie studio.
And the party will just continue until then. Looks like Chris Rock was right. Ain't shit gonna get done today....

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