I’m a crier. Sappy chick flick? I cry. Feel good sports movie? I
cry. Stupid commercial where the dad’s carrying his kid on his
shoulders in the back yard and they’re trying to catch fireflies? I
At real-life events it’s particularly difficult to maintain my
composure. When I see someone striving for, and achieving, something
they believe in my eyes water up and my nose gets red. During the
Chicago Marathon I spent the whole morning sniffling.
That means I fit right in at last night’s Grant Park rally for
President-Elect Barack Obama. Everyone was crying, and since tears
beget tears I thought I was going to start bawling at any minute.
Although I did come close, instead I and pretty much everyone else
would burst into song, or shouts, or high fives, or hugs. It was the
most emotionally charged crowd I’ve ever seen.
Around 8 o’clock Paul and I met at State & Washington with no
plan; we just knew we needed to be downtown for this momentous event.
Teresa Hill, one of my best friends, was at Rock Bottom so we met up
with her and her friend Robert Sandy. Robert just happens to be a
liberal blogger for Daily Kos, and Paul just happens to be a liberal blogger for the Washington Times.
Besides being supporters of Obama’s inclusive and gap-bridging
philosophy, Teresa and I have no patience for a party that will
nominate an ill-qualified candidate because they think that will get
our votes as women.
Because of our collective beliefs and excitement, we were pretty
vocal as the Electoral College vote tally rose in Obama’s favor. The
crowd at Rock Bottom, however, was not, so we joined the masses at
Grant Park. Paul’s friend Paul joined us (so yes, we had Robert, Paul,
Paul, Teresa and Theresa). We had no direction; we just meandered down
Jackson and ended up at Columbus, right before Obama came on the
Jumbotron to give his acceptance speech.
That is one of those moments I will remember for the rest of my
life. All of the previous – Challenger, Reagan and Brady, September 11
– were tragedies. Last night was a defining moment that I will recall
with pride, when America’s credo was proven to be more than just a
statement but a reality.
Last night a crowd large enough to fill our “front yard” listened
with respect and admiration to our President-Elect. When the crowd
left, it left the same way. There was no pushing or shoving. Vendors
laid out their wares in the middle of the street and the crowd parted
around them like rocks in a stream. One person would sing “na na na na,
hey hey hey” and twenty surrounding would chime in with “goodbye”.
Last night on the streets of Chicago there were no colors, no
classes, no religions; there were no riots, no demonstrations. There
was a people excited and filled with hope and possibility on a scale
beyond anything I’ve seen in my lifetime.
Last night, we witnessed a man achieve something unprecedented that not only he, but millions of others, believe in.
So, last night, I cried.
You can see my photos from last night in the photo gallery.