Everywhere I went yesterday, the city seemed electrified. I passed libraries, schools, churches and rec centers that I never before knew were polling places; but yesterday, the lines wrapping around the block gave them away. People seemed different; they were energized, excited, anxious. They wore their “I Voted” stickers proudly. Yesterday, regardless of our politics, regardless of our economic situations, regardless of our beliefs, regardless of our employment status, all Americans had something in common: we chose the future of our country. And for the first time in as long as I can remember, possibly ever – remarkably, all Americans actually seemed to care.
From teenagers who were allowed to vote for the first time, to seniors who haven’t voted in years. From those who have never bothered to follow politics before, to those who have abstained by choice. From those who have felt marginalized, to those who have felt removed, to those who have always been die-hard political junkies. Yesterday, we were all the same.
It has been a long, dramatic, twenty-two months. It’s been full of surprises, frustrations, exhilarations, and passions. It’s been historic, in more ways than one. But mostly, it has brought our country together in a way that nothing else has since 9/11. We may be divided by party lines, but when we stood together in voting lines, we were all Americans, doing the most American thing that we can do. We can be proud of the fact that we, as a nation, actually care.
We’re involved in two wars in the Middle East. We’ve lost much of the respect and goodwill that we once had around the world. We’ve become the butt of international jokes: the fat, lazy, apathetic Americans who do nothing but eat McDonald’s and watch episodes of Oprah. But yesterday, we fought back. We showed the world that we want change so badly, we want a better future so badly, that we were willing to get up off of our fat, lazy American asses, pull ourselves away from the television, and go out there and stand in line, so that we could make our voices heard. We showed the world that the political process in America is not only working, but thriving.
Over the next four years, it’s going to be up to our next president – President Obama – to get us back on track, and to make good on the change that he promised; the change that we all so desperately want and need. But yesterday, Election Day, Americans started that ball rolling, all by ourselves. Yesterday, America changed.
So whether you are rejoicing or licking your wounds, whether you are red or blue, whether you are rich or working class, take a minute. Before the critics start criticizing, before the boxes are packed, before the memory of yesterday fades into the problems of tomorrow, take a minute. Take a minute to enjoy this moment, and to think about what, in one day, we, as a country, were able to accomplish.