(The original post, with everything on one page was too long to load. Hopefully this will fix that.)
Personal Stories from Friends
I asked my friends to share their personal thoughts from me to show how people I know reacted. These are relatively unedited and somewhat anonymous. If you want to add your own thoughts in the comments, that would be excellent.
GH, male, my age, from Ohio.
I put on a jacket and tie to go vote… and, it [was] totally sincere. I wanted to look good- the moment demanded more from me. And, I didn’t want to let the moment, history, and our nation down.
I cried last night, no doubt. I didn’t do much at work today, just read and read and looked at the photos.
The importance of last night cannot be overstated, or understood for a long time.
VK, female, a bit older than me, from Argentina.
We lived the election in Buenos Aires as it was the election of our own president. we hold parties each debate, follow the conversation online and did not missed the Daily Show even once. We were conscious that this was going to be a historic date.
Last night, we hold a party at one of my American friends house. We were watching CNN and checking sites on our iphones like crazy. When it was finally announced, we screamed and shout and cry, and celebrate the fact that America was finally electing the President it deserves.
JO, male, a bit older than me, from Boston.
Basically it just feels different.
Maybe it’s just living through the past 8 years, but I think for the first time in a while something new is happening. As cliche as it sounds there’s before Obama and after Obama as far as I’m concerned.
It feels like this is a rare opportunity for everyone to come together and actually work on getting stuff done. Not just liberals. Not just conservatives. Not black, white, Asian, Indian, Latino, but EVERYONE. Or at least give it the ol’ college try!
Oh and if you asked me two years ago if he could be president I would think you were insane in the membrane.
LS, male, a bit older than me, from NY.
I voted. It was great. Felt good about it. For the first time in almost a decade, I actually voted for the winner. So that was a nice feeling. Definitely feeling very positive at this point in time that Obama can actually start from scratch on a certain level. Bring a new kind of energy to the political process and make people feel that government is actually on their side. So, overall, feeling good about it.
SE, male, a bit older than me, from TN
Bittersweet to say the least.
The typical scare tactics by the Republican party (rumors of being a Muslim, a socialist, a communist, a terrorist, etc, etc) didn’t work this time. I’m glad the American public saw beyond all of the junk and to the core of the issues facing this country today. It’s time for a reversible of the trickle down economics and bring the troops home!
RN, female, my age, from CA
Before Obama became the Democratic nominee, I heard a comedian on TV say something like, ‘If we actually have a black president then how is Hollywood going to portray ‘the future USA’ in movies and television?’.
In October I started graduate school, and I’m taking a course called “Paradigms of Consciousness”. We’re learning about how the world is stuck in the Newtonian-Cartesan paradigm established 400 years ago wherein humans are reducible to parts (like a machine), science says what’s not measureable is not real, and that nature has no consciousness and therefore can be exploited by humans. This presidential election, along with the collapsed economy, proves that the old paradigm is not working. We are in the midst of a world awakening! At least I hope we are. Only time will tell if an Obama administration can truly make change a reality
RD, male, older, from MA ‘The Big E’
Well, the Presidential E-lection was a watershed event for sure this week and I have to be the first to shout out E-grats, congrats, big-ups & what-alls to our soon to be new Prez Barack Hussien Obama and our new First Lady Michelle Obama. For this weeks E I was thinkin that since most Prezy’s have a headline grabbin nick name, you know like; “Ike”, “Slick Willie”, “Tricky Dicky”, Ronald “the Great Communicator Raygun”, George “W” (What-Me-Worry”) Bush, I thought I would staht the Obama Presidency off with a few moniker sugg-E-tions of my own fer ya, so heah goes:
1. “BIG BRO”. This one has several connotations but he will be Commander in Chief & the brother did tally a whoppin 97% O’ the African American vote !
2. “BARACK-N’-ROLL”. Not that catchy but if he stahts taxin anyone making less than 250 Lahge this one could take off!
3. “OBOMBER”. This one might work after one O’ dem Tommyhawk Cruise Missiles strikes the fool who sets off one O’ dem “test situations” during Barack’s first 6 months that Veep Joe Biden was “ludin” to!
4. “BAROMBA”. A take off on the espanish song “Barumba”, You may see this one under a picture O’ Barack Dancin wit the First Lady at the Inaugural Ball. This one could set off a new dance craze!!
5. “O-BEAR-Ma”. Hopefully dis one don’t make it cuz it will mean yer 401K jes went down to a 1-C.
Well that’s as good as I can do fer this Friday’s E but if you got more let’s hear from ya’s!. Here’s hopin all O’ us includin Barry O have a peacful & prosperous next four years but in the meantime we can all staht by havin a great weekend so long as we don’t ferget to: praise Jesus/Jehovah, please the “squeeze”, relaxitate & CHILL!!!!!
LT, female, my age, from MD
While my story isn’t uplifting, hopeful, or celebratory, it’s real. Include it if you like:
I’ve just completed my first quarter as an 8th grade Ancient Civ teacher. I love the material and there’s a ton of room for improvisation. We wrapped up Ancient China and India on Friday (October 31st), with Greece up next. To generate some excitement about Greek history, I thought it would be interesting to tie in some current events. The 2008 election will always remind me of this story:
The assignment I gave in class that morning was to have the students come up with 3 questions to ask of a registered voter about our democratic process. A key component of this assignment was to be an “informed interviewer” and I emphasized that the students need to be prepared with their questions. I communicated the objectives, which are to connect the students with current events, conduct independent research on the topic, and learn how to paraphrase an interviewer’s response. I also mentioned that the interview will come into play later as we discuss the characteristics of Ancient Greek government. I have been very careful not to bring any partisan politics into the classroom (the Head of School specifically requested that I avoid political discussion), knowing that doing so could have been risky.
One student asked how much research they need to do, to which I responded that each student is different. For example, some benchmarks for evaluation include (none of these questions were open for discussion; each were rhetorical):
“What is a citizen?” “Do you know the difference between Democrat and Republican?” and as a follow up, “Do you know that both parties are associated with a different color? For example, you hear the term red state and blue state. Do you know what that means?” And, “Do you know what color McCain is associated with?” “How about Obama?” It is to this last question that one of my white 8th grade students answered loudly – to nobody in particular – that “Obama is just black.” I couldn’t continue. I was distracted, disappointed, and had lost my train of thought. He spent the rest of the day waiting in the office for his parents to pick him up.
While the story isn’t about Tuesday’s election, the long lines (mine were short!), or my political leaning, it makes you think… Whew. 8th grade.
SC, male, older, from MA
On Election Day, I received a call from a high school friend from New Jersey, with whom I have not spoken in about a year. He was calling because he was trying to figure out for whom he should vote. He had spoken to some friends and family and they were basically evenly split. He was leaning towards McCain, but he wanted to hear my thoughts.
Initially, I spent most of the time countering some of the high level rhetoric that people mentioned about Obama (he will raise taxes on everyone, is a socialist, etc.). My friend said this information was helpful, but he still felt confused. Finally, I told him, very simply, that there are certain times in history that demand a certain kind of President. I told him that examples were Roosevelt (both), Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton, all of whom were the right people for that time. I said that there could even be an argument that 2000 was a time for George W. (although he failed miserably). I then said that now is the time in history for Obama to be our President. The message it would send to the country and to the world would be incredible.
Interestingly enough, he was probably the person that I spoke with during the campaign who seemed to be truly undecided. About halfway through the call, I realized how strongly I felt about the election and how important it was to me to be to convince him to vote for Obama.
He said thanks and that he would think about it. He has not called back to tell me what he did, but Obama took NJ.
JT, male, older, from MA
I’m probably one of the few people you know who was not enchanted by the outcome of this election.
But I’m reasonably confident that Obama & Co. will have trouble doing permanent damage to the country. We’ll probably see a few bad years, both economically and politically, but the pendulum almost always swings back when enough people figure out that Washington is in the hands of the wrong people. And if I’m the one who’s wrong–well, anyone who’s reading this 10 or 20 years from now can get a good chuckle at my innocence.
What troubles me far more is the likelihood that the press–a critical part of our political process–has done terrible damage to itself. There’s always been some bias in past election coverage, of course, and it’s not always a bad thing for reasonably knowledgeable reporters and editors to nudge the public toward the good guys. We’ve also had eras when there was open war between factional newspapers and publishers who sold their presses (and their souls) to the highest bidders.
But the past few years of campaign coverage were the first time I can recall when virtually the entire mainstream media–newspapers, magazines, broadcast–openly took sides with one candidate. There was no subtlety at all about the media’s efforts to promote and protect “their” candidate, and simultaneously to devastate the opposition. Troubling revelations about Obama and Biden were buried; silly rumors about McCain and Palin ended up on the front page.
I’ve spent much of my life around working journalists, and I know that in the past very little of this behavior would have passed muster among professional reporters and editors. Regardless of their political leanings, few journalists would have let large parts of a high-visibility politician’s life go unexplored. And few editors, especially at major metropolitan dailies, would have rushed thinly-sourced stories into print the way we’ve seen in the last few years. Self-respect trumped partisanship.
That’s changed, clearly. And the change occurred at the worst possible time for the credibility of the press, because an army of bloggers and commentators has begun to challenge deceptive reporting with YouTube videos and background research that often spreads around the Web like proverbial wildfire.
For the mainstream media, the price of this year’s aggressive partisanship has been a severe loss of credibility, steep declines in readership, and endless rounds of layoffs and cutbacks. It’s hard to feel sorry for anyone caught in this self-induced meltdown: Stupidity has consequences.
But I’m less happy about the loss to our national dialog. The media played a useful role in defining what’s important, and in keeping a lot of the players reasonably honest. Take away the media as a serious, weighty, responsible institution and I’m pretty sure we’re all much worse off. Orwell’s Ministry of Truth is not going to be a happy substitute.
SC, male, a bit older, from MA
McCain redeemed himself with his concession speech. Early in the race I considered voting for McCain simply because I liked the man, and I tend to vote by the person rather than the party. My opinion of him took a nosedive when his campaign resorted to personal attacks in the race against Obama.
Obama may have attacked in the media, but he wasn’t malicious. McCain regained my respect with the bipartisan tone in his concession speech and with the visible way in which he put down the anti-Obama sentiment of the crowd. Perhaps he is a good man…it’s a pity he let his campaign go the typical Republican low-road.
I had a sudden attack of paranoia waiting for Obama to arrive for his acceptance speech. I was struck with worry that something might have happened to him, that he might have been assassinated. He has become hope personified – a symbol that our country wants and perhaps can change. I was afraid for the repercussions to our country’s psyche if that symbol were killed. In retrospect I realize I was thinking of him as “our” Obama. The feeling of paranoia and protectiveness gradually eased as he arrived and spoke, but it did not go away.
BE, male, a bit younger, from CT
Every presidential election they say it’s “historic” and the phrase “generation” is used liberally (progressively?). Personally I don’t think the election itself is necessarily historic, it’s all about the consequences. Not to downplay the import of our first Black non-TV, non-Warren-G-Harding president, but the history books about the years 2008-2012 won’t have more than a few paragraphs dedicated to the occasion.
KC, female, older, from ME
For me it is simple. The best man won. Yes, he is a man who is half black and half white. That is momentous. I also think it is important to concentrate on the fact that he is the most intelligent, most thoughtful, most empathetic, most likely to choose the best advisors, classiest, least reactionary–cool headed–and simply is the best man for the job. I am elated that such a large per cent of the American public recognized that. That being said, I am concentrating now on how optimistic and hopeful he is. I am noticing the spring in his step and the clear quality of his voice.This job will wear him down–age him beyond his years. I am sorry for that.
CM, female, a bit older, from MA
It was a new, a very new feeling to watch the president-elect of the United States on television with tears in my eyes– tears of joy, relief, and hope. I have only voted three times, and never have I felt as if my vote held such a weight for my country and for the world. But there he stood, a true, honest, hardworking man who had worked his way through his life and the world to stand on a podium and address the USA as the President-Elect.
This meant a great deal for me, but what made the tears spring to my eyes was the idea that my two children, who are now two and four years old, would have this man as the first president that they would truly remember. I thought of the great change that he could bring to this nation in his years in the White House, and how those changes might impact my family and my children, and I glowed.
I have never before felt so proud to be an American.
CM, female, my age, from Chicago
It’s hard to put it all into words.
I’m a Cubs fan. We don’t win things. I never, seriously, never, expect things to come out how they should, or rather, how I think they should. I’m the product of Jack W____, so of course I always anticipate the worst (again, it really all goes back to the Cubs).
I’m going to say off the bat that I don’t think, no matter how many words, how many analogies, how many accompanying photos, how many tears I cry just thinking about it, I will ever, truly, be able to explain that feeling on Tuesday night.
It was magic. It was disbelief. It was something that pretty much allowed me to have a renewed faith in this country. I know everyone is saying these things, but it’s true.
So here’s how it went down.
I__ and I had tickets for the big rally, 75,000 expected in attendance. The morning of the rally, my mom told me that they, my parents, had gotten VIP passes through the campaign. I griped, jealous, but was excited they could be there. One hour later my mom called and said they were able to get one for me as well. (I__ was out of luck, but let’s be honest, this was a W____-W____ night and he was all about that.)
My mom, I__ and our friend, C_____, all took the train downtown together. At one point, the train stopped because a major fight was happening on the car next to us. Security, police, guns, it was scary. Very scary. I wanted to leave; go home. The crowds were huge and there was a very nervous tension. But, we stayed on and the train kept heading to Grant Park.
My mom got a call, mid-ride, from her sister to say that Barack was the projected winner in Pennsylvania. In a way that only my mom can, she whooped and loudly announced to all of our fellow passengers: “Barack’s got Pennsylvania!!!” Everyone cheered.
We got off the train, and my mom went to meet my dad in the VIP area and I went to wait in line with I__ and C___. After a while, it was clear their line wasn’t moving too fast, so I bid them adieu and went to the honored guest area.
You have to understand that there were more people out than I’ve ever seen. More than at the Bulls NBA championship rallies, more than 4th of July and the Taste of Chicago. It was insane. I walk to the VIP area and it was like a different world. There were people but they were in suits, not home-made tee-shirts. Despite the stuffy facade, the energy and excitement was just as present.
I called my parents and they told me where they were saving our spot. In the front row. Next to the podium. My dad had a veggie sandwich waiting for me. I’m really lucky- they’re good eggs. Before things kicked off, I went to get some water; I ran into none-other than Oprah, making her way to the Port-O-Potties. I am kind of kicking myself for not getting a photo of her entering or departing said Port-o-Potty, but Tuesday night wasn’t about ‘Stars, they’re just like Us.’ Tuesday night was about Barack.
The area where we were was pretty empty. There were only about 5,000 or 6,000, so our spot was pretty prime and people weren’t pushing us around, which was nice.
They were playing CNN on the big jumbotron, and as soon as I walked in, they had just projected Ohio for Obama. Everyone went nuts. Good tears.
Here’s when the real magic happened:
It was 9:59:30 and everyone started counting down to the close of the California polls. As the clock struck 10 p.m. CST, we heard the thundering intro music, alerting us that there was another CNN projection on its way:
CNN projects Barack Obama the next president of the United States.
(here’s a video) from my friend, V____, who was in the crowd at this exact moment. I think it does a great job of projecting how amazing it really was among 250,000 fellow Obama supporters)
I cried like I cried at my wedding. I cried so hard that I’m still exhausted from such an emotional release. And, as I type, I almost cry now thinking about the scene in front of me: My mom and dad, who for years have fought, so hard, for so many good things. I watched them embrace, cry with each other and celebrate a pinnacle in their lives that I don’t think either one of them really ever imagined would happen. My mom grabbed me, and hugged me. It was amazing.
Then my dad put my sister on the phone. (E___, who has made such a sacrifice to work in Portsmouth, NH, and has worked so tirelessly for the campaign since this summer. Did you know that New Hampshire, the ‘Live Free of Die’ state went to Barack? My sister helped with that. I’m so proud of her.) I began talking to her on the phone, and again, that same flood of feelings came rushing back- to talk to her was to re-live the excitement all over. But this time, the personal connection, the sense of pride for my little sister, almost exceeded the earlier projection.
In any case, that was what I think of as the most amazing point of that night.
But that’s not to discredit how incredible it was when they announced the new First Family. Or to hear Barack’s election speech and to be close enough that I could actually hear his annunciation in person versus over the speakers.
What was unexpected was the amount of exhaustion at that point. Despite all the energy I think everyone who was there, everyone in the city or country for that matter, was just so emotionally drained because what a long road it’s been.
His speech was so honest. And it was such a look at the leader he is going to be and the leader he’s always been. What he has before him is going to be hard. Harder than the past 19 months campaigning and harder than any other modern president has had to walk into. But I have faith.
That night I wrote a letter to a baby or babies that one day me and I__ will have. I wrote it because I really believe that it’s okay to bring children into this world. I want to have a baby because I think we’re on the brink of amazing times and I want our child/children to be here to experience it. I wrote a letter because I want to tell our children about how I__ and I were there that night. We were at different vantage points, but we witnessed history. I want to tell our children about the long hard fight that it took to bring Barack Hussein Obama, a black man, into the White House. Oh this is so important and I don’t want to leave anything to chance. I don’t want to miss any detail. I don’t want to forget about how hard my dad held me when Barach was announced or how proud, truly inspired, I felt that night.
As for what’s next, I lilke it. Rahm Emanuel is a crazy motherfucker, but he’s good. I kind of liken him a bit to my father (the self-proclaimed Bulldog). I think Barack is going to align himself with the best out there and I’m just eager to see who’s brought on board next.
So, this might be more than what you were looking for, but two nights ago, I experienced something that’s up there second to my wedding as one of the happiest days of my life. Magic.
HW, female, my age, from New York
Response to Election ’08
I was appalled to learn that 4 out of 6 young teachers I ate lunch with that day were not even registered to vote and didn’t seem to think that it really mattered. (Like, who cares, I have a bad cold and I am just going to sit here in my Ugg boots with my jeans tucked in and not eat lunch and get other teachers sick and not vote because I am exercising my right not to vote?) Maybe that’s what one of them thought. I am just trying to see it from their perspective. I mean 4 college-educated women not voting in the most historic election of our time baffles me. It’s simply baffling since we’ve only had the right for a relatively little time and many women in the world still don’t have the right. I feel like how can people be that self- absorbed not to have participated in such a historic event? Are they so involved in themselves that they can’t see how important something is in the whole world, in the bigger picture, beyond themselves and their lives? Not to say that they didnâ€™t have big things going on in their lives. But couldnâ€™t they step outside their daily lives for a couple of minutes to fill out an absentee ballot? â€œOh, I just moved here so Iâ€™m not votingâ€. Howâ€™s about take the couple minutes to fill out the form. Or even in CT you can go to your town hall and vote if you are not registered on time for a Presidential Election, or so I heard. Also, what bothered me were people saying, “oh, I don’t care for either of the candidates so I’m not voting”. Ack, get me out of this faculty room. The candidates were so completely different that you had to like one more than the other even by just a little bit unless you are brain dead. Itâ€™s like ‘Paper or plastic?’ You need to choose one or the other even if the cloth bag is not available. Otherwise how are you going to carry all your groceries? You wouldn’t and then you might starve. But these people are not brain dead; they are seemingly intelligent, educated, awesome teachers. Ack. So, I voted, got my sticker, got my Ben & Jerryâ€™s chocolate chip cookie dough, got my Starbuckâ€™s tall decaf and stayed up to watch the entire event. My blood was all jazzed up without caffeine. (Even though as an Exercise Science major I know there is still caffeine in decaf). I was scared. What if a lot of other people who might have voted for Obama didnâ€™t go out and vote? What if our country actually voted for the wrong person again? Would my rights as a woman go down the tubes? When the TV anchors cut away to the breaking news after Californiaâ€™s polls closed, I cried with disbelief and relief. Could this really be happening? My dad would have whooped and hollered. He had lost faith in the American people, as did I. Two years ago, he told me that America would never vote for a black man. I never repeated that aloud. I didnâ€™t want it to be true. But my dad was wrong, thankfully. A lot has changed in the past two years in this country. But, was Brian Williams or Tom Brokaw going to come back and say, â€œWeâ€™re sorry but thereâ€™s been a mistake?â€ No, itâ€™s true. It actually happened. My husband sat next to me in a silent (for once!) shock. I tapped him, “Obama just won.” â€œI knowâ€, he said. I called my brother in Oregon and cried. It actually happened. Can you believe it? We voted for the winner, for change, for someone I wonâ€™t wince at when listening to, for an intelligent leader, a black man. How cool is this? Very. Tres. Muy. And Yes I Can do anything! By the way, I could have just told Conan the joke about Barack using inspirational words from Bob the Builder. â€œCan we build it? YES WE CAN!â€ And so we did and will continue toâ€¦
AH, male, older than me, from MA
Children boil onto the streets at noon; it’s
a half-day to relieve congestion at polling
places, all schools. At Bates I’m number
1057 at eleven o’clock. With absentee
ballots included, that means half the
potential precinct votes are in; John Schuler
says it’s running about double the rate
of a normal election. I embrace my neighbor
Elizabeth; we have cancelled each other.
On the Common a homeless orator
holds up the front page of the *Herald*
and chants a raspy enconium to the
President-elect. Most of us are a
little dazed, short of sleep, giddy
with this newfound sense of our
recovered virtue. Soon enough the
constraints will tighten; for this one
day we allow ourselves a big hope.
Back to Original
Celebrate! – A run down of the celebrations.
WINS! – A list of 38 sites and their winning posts.
Winners and Losers – 18 lists of election winners and losers.
Turnout, Voting, and Polling – Articles and stories about voting, polling, and turn out.
Reactions – Reactions from the world, pundits, and celebrities.
How Obama Won – Some thoughts on how Obama won.
Why McCain Lost – Some thoughts on why McCain lost and what next for the GOP.
Expectations and Advice – There are a lot of people with expectations and a lot of people with advice.
Race – Obviously electing the first black president is going to bring up comments on race.
Money and Business – What will the impact on your money and you business be?
The Media – Without the media, wherever would we be!?
Humor – Without the humor, wherever would we be!?
Miscellaneous – Without the miscellaneous, wherever would we be!?
Personal Stories from Friends – Just what it says.
273 Status Political Status Messages in 27 Hours – Just what it says.
Via – Hereâ€™s a list of all the sites I used in putting this together â€“ the sources.