A change is comin’ (FINALLY!!)

Well, it’s now two days after Tuesday’s historic election here in the States. And I still have my “Obama ’08” button on my bag because it still hasn’t quite hit me yet. I guess I was quietly hoping for the best, but expecting the worst just out of self-preservation, and based on how the past few elections have turned out.

Anyway, I drug myself out of bed at 6 a.m. (40 minutes early) so I could zip down to my local polling place around 7:30. There were probably 20 volunteers and about 30 voters in there, but hardly a line, as they had set up a lot of little booths. I was voting using a provisional ballot because I discovered at the last minute that the voting office still had my old address on file, so I spent a few minutes just filling out the various forms. Then, I filled out my ballot, put it in the two envelopes, stuck it in the voting machine, slapped on my “I Voted” sticker and walked back out into the rain.

And then…the waiting game began. On the way home from work that night, I was checking MSNBC.com on my phone every 15 minutes or so, watching as results from the East coast started coming in. I stopped at home to freshen up and get my car, and then I was off to Luau to meet up with some friends. I walked into the restaurant at about 6:45, and the place was quite festive — red, white and balloons everywhere, tons of Obama posters (I’m SO glad to be living in a devoutly blue area!) and two blaring flat-screen TVs. As we ate, we kept an eye on the TVs, commenting to each other as Obama picked up state after state. I don’t think we were even done eating dinner when they announced that Obama had gone over the magic number of 270 — I think the West coast had just closed its polls maybe 10 minutes earlier! The whole place went crazy, cheering and clapping and high-fiving. We all quieted down for McCain’s speech, which was actually very good (and sounded quite practiced, I must say …), and you could’ve heard a pin drop when Obama finally took the stage for his acceptance. I must admit I got misty-eyed, not over just his speech, but what his election represents to those of us who are minorities. It’s just an amazing feeling to know that someone who’s nearly fully non-White was elected to the highest office of our country, and to a post that’s of such importance to the world as a whole.

Interestingly, though that day and the day or two prior were typical fall Seattle days (gray, cold, windy, rainy), Wednesday dawned beautiful and sunny. Definitely a sign that the world is getting back on track again!! (Today, of course, we’re back to the doom and gloom.) Personally, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off our collective shoulders. Yes, Obama won’t be sworn in until next year, and it’s going to take him a lot of time to undo this mess Bush has gotten us into, but man, it feels SO GOOD. I’m so excited to be an American (of non-American descent) living here and able to have participated in this amazing event. Here’s to the next four (eight, even) years!

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