Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If I'm Dreaming, Let Me Sleep

(*sidenote: If music is being played when you visit, it will be located at the bottom of the page from now on-in the event that you'd like to turn it off.)

The fact that our new president-elect is Barack Obama still hasn't sunk in, and everything just feels surreal. If this comes off like a rant, so be it. There's so much to be said and I'm not even sure where to begin- but the polls feel like a good place to start. Consider this a recap of yesterday's GLORIOUS events.

Let me start by saying that I was all too happy to see the button beside Obama's name light up after choosing the democratic candidates. I was all too happy to see Obama's name on the ballot in the first place. Initially, I felt like pressing the "VOTE" button was not enough... it felt as if there was something else that should have been done, but I was ecstatic about doing it regardless. Want proof?

There you have it. Taking that picture may have been very much illegal, but hey-you only live once. So I walk out the booth, and I'm trying my hardest not to burst out in song since I'm already doing a terrible job at not smiling so hard. Not to sound corny, but I felt like I was floating. I just begin to text a bunch of people saying how I had changed the world.

Granted, I know all elections aren't as controversial as the one we had, I don't understand how people could be so apathetic about their right to vote when it gives them so much power. And hey, maybe I'm naive, and this election has left our generation with a false sense of hope because things went in the way of the people (which they would have us to believe is not what normally happens).

Anywho, I'll get to that later. Back to the story: I go home and get in bed with the intention of waking up around 8 to do some studying for my Philosophy midterm. Instead, I end up crashing until 10:30ish (mind you, I got done voting around 6). Once I'm finally up, I turn the TV to CNN, and I see that Obama has like 230+ electoral votes, and from what I can tell things aren't moving so fast. In short, I decided that it was going to be a long night, and I had already made up my mind that I would be awake when/if he hit the necessary 270 electoral votes.

So, I'm talking with my roommates in another room, and I hear someone screaming outside. The first thought that comes to my mind: The man hasn't even won yet and it feels like the night of the World Series all over again. Little did I know, he had been declared winner and I would be joining that crowd outside very soon.

The screams begin to build up, and I decided to come check the TV in the living room while my roommate tried to pull up the results online... and just like that, we get the news- HE WON! I don't know how long me and another roommate were just standing there in awe, but it took a second to really hit me. Once I finally realized that Barack Obama was our 44th president-elect I just begin running around aimlessly.

The aimlessness left me with too much adrenaline, and I decided to go outside-and boy, did things pick up from there. I'm outside with my roommate and we're just walking the campus, screaming, with no destination in mind. Where do we end up? We walked the entire campus to end up back on our street standing at the intersection crossing the main road in North Philly (Broad Street).

If you aren't a Temple student, just imagine the main road leading downtown in whatever city you reside. So, I'm hugging people, crying, screaming, chanting, and hugging some more people- and then everyone starts chanting at each other from opposite sides of the street "O-BAM-A! O-BAM-A!" Before you know it, we are all out on Broad St. just jumping around, a firecracker lights the sky, and everyone's walking down to City Hall.

Now, I've already acknowledged that a Temple student may not be reading this, so you may not know that walking to City Hall aint no walk in the park... especially when it's cold outside and semi-rainy/slippery. Did I mention we're in North Philadelphia? The hood of hoods. Nonetheless, most people would be surprised to see how civil the group was. And when I say "the group", let me emphasize that the stretch of people walking to City Hall expanded for blocks. Here's a SMALL glimpse of it once we got close to our destination (compliments of the Palm Centro I was complaining about a few months back):

City Hall would be that big building ahead of us. See the right side of the road? We shut it down! What's even more crazy about this is that the police made sure we were safe. Yes, they protected us. Don't get it twisted, there were folks riding on top of cars and hanging out windows, and I could tell some of the cops were just dying to hit them upside the head with a baton- but I don't think it would have been a good night for police brutality or a good move on the cops end. To put it plainly, they were outnumbered and my generation was running on pure adrenaline.

Anywho, we get to City Hall and we all crowd around this statue:

Take note of that horse. See it? Good. So I'm standing around it with the rest of the people, and I've decided that this just isn't cutting it. I have to have something to tell my grandkids. Sure, I walked to City Hall, but they don't know how the walk went. They didn't run beside the girl who lost one of her flip-flops and decided she was going to City Hall anyway. They didn't high five every person they passed- friend or stranger, alike. They didn't see the guy praise dancing in the middle of the street, thanking God.

That wouldn't be enough for them. So, I've decided that I'm getting on this statue. Now, I'm no chump... just 1/4th an inch shy of 5'8'' (and I would be 5'9'' if I had my way, but that stories for another time). I get on the first platform of the statue with no problem... just hoisted myself up and shimmied a bit. See?
But, that 2nd platform-the one where the actual horse was standing, the one I just HAD to get to-that would take some work. Let me remind you that this thing is wet, and I realize that tonight wouldn't be a good night to die. Meaning, I'm not climbing this thing on my strength alone, cause as sure as the sky is blue-I will slip. So, my friend tells me to grab his hand and he will pull me up.

Initially, I was more than a little bit hesitant because he was asking me to trust him with my life in a major way. Daddy wouldn't appreciate a call saying I busted my head open trying to climb a statue in the middle of down town. Trust, he wouldn't give the slightest damn who got elected if he heard I was climbing statues in the first place-let alone, busted my head in a failed attempt to do so. No, my dad wouldn't care a bit, but it all worked out in the end. God bless my friend and his strength, hehe.

So, there I sat. On top of the statue. Looking down at the people just cheering for a good cause. Rejoicing in union, for the right reasons. What song popped in my head? If I Ruled the World by Nas ft. Lauryn Hill. I've been inspired to write a poem by a song before, but man if I could write a poem explaining how the world would be if under my rule-the scene would be depicted like the one I was experiencing at that very moment.

Anywho, eventually I got down (though I said I was staying up there for the next 4years), and we walk further into City Hall. I run into people from the University of Pennsylvania which is on the other side of Philadelphia, and now everyone's bugging out because we realize that we all got this grand idea to head to City Hall. So, we celebrated some more. People were outside banging pots and pans, dancing as if speakers were actually bumpin'.

Then a line resembling the one you make when doing the bunny hop begins, and it's heading back to campus. After running through cars, slapping hands, banging on bus windows, riding on cars, and more chanting-we get back to campus... but here's the thing- we kept going. That's right. We walked right past Temple's campus and now we're heading the opposite direction YET AGAIN. A few blocks and serious pains soaring through my Nike Shox later, I've decided that this is over for me. I don't even know what's in this direction (besides the hood), and I've already made it without being beat by the cops-I'm not trying to risk it with the real thugs of Philadelphia.

Just joking. Truthfully, I had an 8:40 class back in Center City (the place we walked to) and of course, we were supposed to hand in a paper that (coming) day-that I had yet to do. So, I take my butt home, and decide that I will never forget this night, and here I sit today-sharing it with you. In closing, if you actually took the time to read all of this, I only ask that you do me one more favor. Comment on this post by answering this question: where were you when our 44th president, a black/mixed man, was elected? What story will you share with your grandkids about the night Barack Obama was chosen to be America's next president?

Yes We Did!


  1. Christina from TorontoNovember 5, 2008 at 10:17 PM

    I am Canadian.
    I am 18.
    I live in Toronto.
    So where was I on nov 4th 2008.
    I should have been doing my homework, lord knows I had an essay due the next day, but i was glued to my television.

    I don't even live in the USA but with all my heart i NEEDED obama to win that election.

    I sat all night. From 6pm until shortly after 1030 to hear the screams of americans (in chicago) chant for obama's victory.

    I think i was in awe at first, at sooo many things. At history being made, at the cries, at the screams, at the first black first lady...I was overwhelmed. And then the moment I saw him step on stage, the tears started; tears of release.

    I may not live in that country, but damn the way it effects the ideologies of my own country are incredible. I needed this change just as any other person in this entire WORLD needed it.

  2. I was in my dorm--Room 304, Hoey Hall, at Appalachian State University, where the demographics are obvious--white as snow, with little specs of color here and there.

    I was going back and forth between CNN, CBS, NBC, FOX, and the Internet from 6pm to the amazing 10:50pm when I heard them say something foolish like..."Barack Obama wins the presidency."

    I did a double-triple-quadruple take, standing in the middle of my room, mouth agape, eyes watering. I heard a shriek...followed by shrieks. Look out the window to FIRST SEE a bunch of white kids running down the sidewalk and street "YAY'N!"...and then the stampede of ASU's black population quakes the streets. I open my window to shout and rejoice while screaming in my mother's ear on the phone that I AM ACTUALLY ALIVE FOR THIS.

    I regain a bit of composure and look at the TV again, waiting on them to say it was a mistake. But it never came. I cried. And then I waited til 11:30 to see my president give his speech. To hear him say...we "rejected the myths of our generation's apathy" hear him say "our stories are singular but our destiny is shared."

    My roommate runs in screaming, talking about getting drunk, and I decide...I'm celebrating his win with dignity. And so I did.

    And even now...I'm amazed.
    Last night was literally the happiest day of my life. And I will tell my future youngins that before Nov. 4th 2008, I knew of no such moment where I felt as proud as I did.

    -Yes We Did

  3. WELP... I was at work. Some kid jus got shot in his stomach. (Not a good look, but he took it waaaaaaayyyy better than anticipated) And I'm running back and forth from my desk to a patients room to watch their TV. I heard it and then came the water works.

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