I never find myself glued to a television anymore. But on Tuesday night I huddled around a friend’s television set in Washington, D.C. eagerly awaiting the millions of votes to trickle into the news stations.
Millions upon millions pieces of paper are what determined the outcome of this year’s historic presidential election. When the predictions started dominating the airwaves close to 11 p.m. on the east coast, my friends and I saw history – Barack Hussein Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America.
I found it necessary to never take an obvious side in this election. My stance on politics is a trait that I internalize unless my last nerve goes awry. Last night, I watched the faces of six other 21-year-old American University students as our country ushered in its new and unknown future.
Our generation and every other generation of American citizens were promised change. We elected the man who said he would help us get there. I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of our country as a whole than today.
One story stick out in my mind from Election Day. Rain misting from a gray Washington, D.C. sky didn’t keep voters away from the polls. A class of mine at AU wrote and conducted an exit poll for voters in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia polls nearby. I was stationed in a precinct in Northwest Washington.
There, I saw parents toting their small children to the booths and elderly couples linked by the arm with umbrellas in hand. Young, old, white, black, Asian, Hispanic – everyone voted.
I won’t lie, I was fearful for our country until the announcement that Sen. Obama became the President-elect. Not once during the 21 month election did I ever tell anyone which candidate my vote was going to. But watching Chicago's Grant Park on CNN last night made me proud to be an American.
My city of Chicago ushered in a new era of American history and I wasn’t there to see it. That's why it's a good thing there will be many more historical days to come. This chapter in our history books has only just begun. From here on out, it’s our responsibility along side President Obama to make the changes we seek for the future.
I tip my hat to you today, Barack Obama -- despite the fact that you're a White Sox fan. Here’s to a new day dawning in The United States of America.