Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did - This is what Democracy can look like.

"I finally feel like an American," Leela said at the party at my house last night.

Yes, this is what America can look like. Yes it can.

"I have not yet given up on my fellow Americans," said a man with a pick up truck and a McCain sign in the parking lot of Lions Hall in Hudson, New Hampshire yesterday afternoon. The Melissa that no longer picks political fights with strangers (bartending has taught me a lot) felt no need to say anything clever or snide, even though he was clearly making the announcement for my benefit, me a hippy-looking woman with Obama Pins, leaflets, and ratty clothes. There was no way I was campaigning for McCain. My appearance, even at a distance cries out "I support pseudo-terrorists that want to change the world." I know it does.

I wanted to tell him I hadn't given up on this country either, or on him, but I just thought it to myself and went about my business knocking on doors and telling people they were important.

Last night, however, I got to scream about change and start rounds of raucous applause for each state that came in, and for everything everyone said about hope and this crazy place I love called the United States of America.

It was an emotional evening all around. McCain's speech made people in my house cry. There was something in his loss. Something in the sincerity that came from his heart. His apology, his words that declared to put him behind Obama as a leader, and something, it seemed, he suddenly saw.

Even if it is all a farce and a big political ruse, my heart had been breaking for that old man the last few weeks. Last night shoved the stake straight in the rest of the way. If he could have only been on the side of good with all that energy and experience. Mea Culpa as he said.

My heart was also broken for the loss of Obama's grandmother. The idea that she missed seeing him elected President of the United States by one day felt like the heartbreak of all heartbreaks. But, as my friend Tim said, she probably didn't need to be alive to know that he was going to be president. I think she is sitting in the same front row my Grandmother is, looking down on all of us. The Hawaii of the sky.

And then there was Barack Obama himself whose victory speech brought us to deafening silence, detailing the changes seen in the life of an 106 -year- old American, the promise of puppies, and a promise for a better tomorrow.

I will say the greatest moment of last night came when we knew it was real. That is was really real.

We had flipped for a few minutes to the Daily Show and laughed over some things Jon Stewart and Colbert were saying when all of a sudden Jon Stewart paused and said, "It's 11 O'clock, and Barack Obama is the next president of the United States."

The house went dead and then exploded because we knew that it had just been called. Jon Stewart, in front of God and everyone, had just called the race.

And he was right.

It was one of those moments in history people will remember over and over again I am sure.

How did you find out? Where were you? But not in a September Eleventh way, because baby what we got up in here is the future.

Thank you to everyone for a beautiful and hope-filled night.

Ashleigh, thank you for holding on to me.

Tom, thanks for telling me my shirt smelled.

And Leela, I feel like an American, too.

And Man with the McCain sign, there is no reason to give up hope on anyone. We are all gonna pull through this better than we can imagine. I see aisles being crossed and a place for everyone.

Citizens of this unbelievable place. One nation. Let's make it indivisible- for real this time.

Hopefully, except for Sarah Palin.

Ok, maybe for her too.