"Politicians." I scoffed and rolled my eyes. "Why does he want to speak to us, anyway? Even most of the seniors still can't vote."
Rather than attending, I went home early to study.
The next morning, the school hallways were abuzz with what some students had experienced at the candidate's session.
"It was really inspirational. I wasn't expecting that at all from speeches about politics." A friend said in surprise.
"I wish all of our teachers could speak like he did!" I overheard from another conversation in a classroom.
"I shook his hand!" One of my best friends raved with excitement (She would continue mentions of this significant moment in her life to this very day).
A part of me immediately regretted the decision to skip out on the event, but the part of me that was still incredibly cynical convinced myself that it was no big deal. After all, I was never a fan of the political system or the deviance of politicians.
Not to mention that this unknown man named "Barack Obama" was probably going to lose, anyway.
Fast forward four years --
I'm standing in the midst of 240,000 people -- easily one of the most eclectic crowds I have ever seen (And probably ever will see) -- where a thick cloud of anticipation looms over the enormous gathering. This is no longer a group of curious high school students: the experienced elderly stand proudly next to young, first-time voters, with no apparent generation gap as they grasp sweaty hands in unity (Though there was a moment when an older gentleman asked "Who is this William?" when Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas appeared as a hologram on CNN); Visiting foreigners speak in their mother tongue to one another in excitement, with only the words "Barack," "Obama," and "President" decipherable from their quick enunications; Wheelchair-bound citizens smile widely, basking in the occasion as those next to them lead them into unique dances of celebration with each projected Democratic state; Skin colors of white, yellow, black mesh together upon a palette of red and blue to create a natural canvas depicting the most wondrous painting the world has ever beheld.
Suddenly, the large screen displaying CNN's Live Election Coverage echoes a familiar sound.
Virginia goes to Barack Obama.
The crowd erupts into the most incredible cheer, expressions of pure, unadulterated joy. There is no need to see more -- even an official declaration of victory or the official projection of California -- everyone has already finished adding two and two together.
Or in this case, 207, 13 (VA), and the 55 certain electoral votes from California.
YES WE DID.
Suddenly there are tears creeping down my eyes; I'm shocked as I wipe them away quietly, but then I see that nearly everyone around me -- men, women, young, old -- are doing the same.
I smile as I remember the day I purchased my Obama '08 bumper stickers -- the very day the official webstore opened to the public and not long after the young senator announced his decision to participate in the Democratic Primaries. I smile as I remember the strange looks directed towards my car at numerous parking lots, and the occasional question of "Who in the world is this?" I smile as I remember my grandfather chuckling and telling me that this Obama fellow, with his minority status, probably has no chance for presidency here in the U.S.
Like Tim Russert and
Amongst the happiness, my mind contemplates a few more questions -- how did this man turn around my previous apathy? Better yet, how did he turn around an entire generation's indifference? How did he successfully transform our anger and frustration into faith and optimism that we actually wanted to fight for through the most traditional, American process?
In the end, these may be an unanswerable inquiries. If so, then let it be.
Some label us a "cult." I say: If this is a cult comprised of 63,000,000 American members (Who knows how many internationally) and bases its ideals on Positivity. Then sign me up.
Now, just let me enjoy the live speech and make up for what I missed out on four years ago.
And here is to the next four years.
ETA: ( And speaking of the rest of the world (Do click this)...Collapse )
God, that is beautiful. Never, ever forget that this was also an election for the world. Never, ever underestimate the Audacity of Hope.