The high-flying rhetoric of Barack Obama coasted into Chicago, Illinois on Election Night with thousands (if not over a million supporters) lining up from 11 am to 8 pm CT to get into the Obama rally where many expected he would give his victory speech.
I, myself, was detached from hope and change, as defined by the Obama campaign thus far. But, I would not miss the opportunity to see this election to its end as I had been following it since the summer of 2007.
When there was word that a rally would be held at Grant Park in Chicago, tickets from the Obama campaign were sent to me, an “Illinois supporter.” Being on his email list, I capitalized off it and signed up for a ticket.
In the election’s final days, it became widely evident that John McCain hadn’t a chance in hell of pulling this one out. It would be a landslide and not just that. It would be a historic landslide that millions of people had helped create.
I woke up on Election Day full of anticipation. But, I had to first drag myself to a class in the morning.
On the way home, I could feel the energy. There was something about it. It felt like Christmas---like the American people were going to get a big present.
I spent the afternoon indecisively wandering the Internet scanning for updates on polling place fiascos. And, I turned on MSNBC to hear McCain declare in a final rally that the “pundits were wrong. The Mac is back.” It gave me a good laugh.
MSNBC said this was “vintage McCain.” As I think back to that moment, I think McCain knew he had lost the election then so he went back to his roots. But, continuing…
I closely monitored the streets wondering when I should go down there and go in to meet a couple of good friends from college. And, as 4 pm CT came, it was time to go head on in to the Obama rally because more and more people were arriving.
Getting into the rally was a long and arduous process like the election itself. It took hours to get to the park area where the rally was held.
Closed roads, barriers, police, secret service, metal detectors, and regulations for attendees were in place to make certain Obama’s event would go off well.
I showed my ID and ticket and headed in where I was corralled into a crowd that hung still for a good amount of time before being let go to a next checkpoint.
That crowd hung still for a good amount of time before being let go to the metal detector checkpoin
After two hours of standing and talking with Obama supporters who were finding the Kentucky win for McCain to be insignificant, I finally made it in.
I will never forget how in line people had doubt at that moment. There was fear. And for a movement behind hope and change, that speaks volumes about the trauma this nation had gone through over the past eight years.
Standing in Grant Park with my dear friends, I gathered with others to view the election results as they were reported on by CNN. We laughed, we cheered, we applauded, and we danced during the commercial breaks when the rally played music for attendees to dance to.