Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One Week Later

So after attending the historic Obama Election Night Rally in Grant Park I went into a bit of a writing and personal funk. I started article after article and then one of two things happened. I read something that was exactly as I was writing, or more to the point I hated my writing.
I also asked that awful question.... what if I still worked in politics?

The three regular readers of this blog know these funks come upon me every eight weeks or so and this one could not have come at a worse time for a political blog. To hit a spell of writers depression right after an election that you have been obsessing about for over a year?

Awful timing.

That said 17people will be coming back with a new style of shorter and more frequent links and posts to follow the transition of power and the stories of the Congress.

Yet I can't go forward without writing about the experience and feelings at Grant Park and in Chicago last Tuesday night.

How many ways can you say something was amazing or historic? The rally on Tuesday was a high that is almost impossible to quantify in any appropriate way.

Grant Park and the streams of people flooding the streets of Chicago afterwards was like nothing I have ever seen or can imagine ever seeing again.

The moments and experiences were many for me:
  • Taking pictures with strangers in the L station because of wearing a 'Yes We Can' shirt
  • The explosion of cheering in Bar Louie when MSNBC projected Pennsylvania for Obama
  • The buzz in line to get in the rally when news of Ohio hit
  • The eruption of the crowd when Virginia was called for Obama once we were in the rally
  • The boos when states were called for McCain (Like people expected Louisiana to go to Obama? lol)
  • The sheer joy and jubilation of men and women of so many backgrounds with tears coming down their faces (myself included) upon hearing CNN project Barack Obama President
  • The respect shown and continued tears during the incredibly gracious and 'Patriotic' speech of John McCain
  • Then the image of our next President delivering yet another amazing piece of oratory.
  • The incredible pride and feeling of walking down the middle of the Magnificent Mile in Chicago seeing the vast array of people celebrating a political victory.

There were two things that really hit me.

First, this wasn't a city celebrating a Super Bowl or an NBA Championship. This was people celebrating a political victory. What was more amazing was that it was not just Chicago,, it was many places all over the country. We looked like a country celebrating a revolution or freedom, more than a new President.

The second thing is more personal to me and I would guess many others who have been battled on the ground across the country for the past 8+ years.

A sense of vindication.

Not just because of Obama won, but because the country reaffirmed its vote in the midterm elections two years ago. The voters rather convincingly denounced the eight years of President Bush, neo-conservatism, and most importantly did it at the voting booth and not just in 'opinion polls'.

Too many forget that questioning President Bush wasn't always easy and certainly not as popular as it has been the past 3 years.

For many of us, for quite a few years, dissent from this President on things like tax cuts, the Patriot Act, out of control spending, the Iraq War, etc. was denounced as 'Anti-American' and in some circles labeled even worse.

It felt as though in 2000, 2002, and 2004 no matter how 'right' we may have been or thought we were on issues,,, the Bush-Rove operation kicked our ass in elections.

Having good candidates, or a vision for the country doesn't work if you don't control any aspects of the government. At some point,,, you have to win,, and as a Democrat and Cubs fan,, it was a nice feeling to finally win one.

It started in 2006 when the country saw through the myth that was 'Compassionate Conservatism' and the evidence we have today is a 57+ seats in the Senate, 258+ seats in the House of Representatives, and a progressive Northerner from Chicago in the White House.
Democracy in this country works and if the Democrats can't lead the country in the years to come,, then democracy will fire them in the near future.

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