"This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time,... to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. "
- President-elect Barack Obama at Victory speech at Grant Park , Chicago on Nov.4,2008.
It was Novemebr 4th, and the year : 2008. I woke up to my alarm like any other day , opened the windows , and saw a cloudy sky with a hint of sunshine . Would this be another disappointment like John Kerry's election night ? I wondered . The polls , even the exit polling in the morning were showing Kerry ahead - could it be wrong again ? But, this time , I had a confidence - I had met the canditate , Senator Barack Obama in April of 2007 during his visit to Oakland , and told everyone how he captivated the crowd , and that this man will win it all at the end . Like so many millions of people across the country, for me it was also "our" journey , and we have looked forward to this day , every day for the last eighteen months !
In between catching news, CNN feeds, and blogs - I sleep walked though work with a heavy mind. Where will I go to watch the results ? I tried e-mailing my friend Cristine , who came to all of the Debate Watch Parties at the hotel , only to learn she is out of town. I needed to be in a crowd , hold my apprehensions and look out for the results from four states- Pennsylvania , Virginia , Ohio and Florida ! During my lunch-walk I strolled into the Obama Campaign Office across the street . I had phone banked there the day earlier for a couple of hours . It was 3:30pm and everyone was still phone banking ! I asked Marianne where is everyone calling - it was 6:30pm East Coast time ? Alaska , there are a couple of Senate races there , you know - she said ! Wow - I will come back later , I stumbled on my words . I finished up at work , and started watching the early states being called . As I started my way back to the Convention center Obama Party , the fall of Pennsylvania roared though the airwaves ! The crowd had a deafening cheer for five minutes ! We have check-mated the McCain campaign at his only window to 270 ! The only thing to watch is how much the margin is going to be ! Then came Virginia , Ohio and Florida ! The crowd was hugging each other , strangers came up and threw arms around me and screamed , We Did It ! The elected officials came to the podium and started addressing the crowd , and it was absolutely great to see my state assemblywoman Barbara Lee - and I was so proud that she declared for Obama very early on !! Then came the moment - the two giant elevision screens were tuned into MSNBC - and they declared Obama the 44th President !! People absolutely went wild - balloons came down the ceiling , the music was turned on - and everyone started dancing !! McCain graciously accepted defeat - something that was missing in his campaign - and now everyone was waiting for the President-elect Barack Obama !
The speech was a riveting one , all eyes were fixed on the screens . Frequent chants of , "Yes We Can " , went up in the air . An older african-american lady standing in front of me broke down in sobs , a young white girl with tears rolling down her eyes was watching the speech while her boyfriend held her in an embrace from behind , and the scottish girl that I was talking to earlier wiped tears and inadvertently , leaned on my shoulders ! I could even see my coworker Anthony take down his glasses and try to hide his tears ! This evening , meant a lot to a lot of people . I had to hold myself back a few times , and finally decided to put my arms around my new-found husky voiced Scottish Obama girl ! The jubilation came back after the speech - a band started playing and a sizeable crowd moved in that direction - and she pulled me there as well. But, after sharing this once-in-a-lifetime moment , somehow we separated on the dance floor when she reunited with her college friends - giving me a faint apologetic smile as a goodbye ! Amidst all this , a woman photographer started clicking at our direction urging me to hold her tighter and clicked away as she was giggling all through !
As I came outside , the party was just taking hold in the streets . Cars started honking , people sitting on either side of the windows chanting "Obama ! Obama !! " drove down the alleys ! The mood was so festive , it was a sense of joy, a sense of relief ! Change has come , because we wanted change . My blackberry started ringing , my friend Chris wanted to go to a Pub. Sure, why not ? As we drove to downtown Berkeley , everyone was lining up the streets , jumping with joy and coming up to the cars ! In one instance , this girl came up and reached through the window and started pumping the horn ! Inside the bar , we were joined by a couple of other friends . One of them was V. In an hour Chris excused himself and went home . V is a great and fascinating company ! For an hour , I listened to her about how she missed Denver - not the city of course , but a certain person she met after she broke up with her boyfriend who happens to be in Denver ! But she was wondering whether she is missing this person out of her feelings , or due to the fact that he was so good going down on her !! "I think there is a direct relation to how much you long for someone to what depth of pleasure that person gives to you , don't you think ?" I told her I thought its quite the opposite because otherwise all my ex-girlfriends would be missing me terribly - this drew a huge laughter and a toast of drinks ! My blackberry started to jarr again -"I want to c the streets r u up ?" "yeah " "can u pick me up ?" "sure". I excused myself and started off again ending by the Emeryville Bay with the car parked facing the ocean .
I thought how I started the day , and how beautifully it is ending . The faint glow of sunlight started peeking through the patchy dark clouds . I looked on my side and she had fallen asleep on my outstretched arms . I nudged her a little bit . Its 4:15am .
As I came back to my place walking up the stairs and going past the balcony , I looked up at the distance again - It is a brand new day, a day they said would never come , And it is your day Mr. President , and we are with you !