History

new pic: Reuters

I am still too overwhelmed to get my thoughts completely straight.

Outside, there were people spilling out of the buildings of my otherwise quiet Brooklyn neighborhood. Cars were honking and flashing lights, an incredibly diverse group of Brooklyn College kids were cheering and singing and dancing, filling the sidewalks like a Mardi Gras parade. No cops came to stop them. No scowling passersby rolled their eyes. Instead, people high fived strangers. They hugged their neighbors. The streets were teary and joyous and magical.

It felt cathartic as much as celebratory; like a heavy weight lifted off our collective chests. Like enchanted statues in some sci-fi movie cracking open and revealing living humans once again. Like a triumph of hope over hatred. Of progress over fear.

At an election watching party last night, one friend turned to me and asked whether I was going to wake my kids and give them the news. I told her I wasn’t sure; I think they were too little to understand, even if the night really belonged to them.

Then I turned to her and said, “Our children – they’re going to grow up during the Obama years.”

She squeezed my hand and we cried together.

{74 Comments}

74 thoughts on “History”

  1. I am Canadian but I still want to say yay, Yay, YAY!!! SO HAPPY to see progressive government down there! CONGRATULATIONS!

  2. “Like a triumph of hope over hatred. Of progress over fear.”Perfectly said. So much more eloquent than when I said to my husband last night “eff those white trash christian coalition racist emmer effers and their ‘white is right’ campaigning, it is time to stop planning a permanent trip to Canada and start getting excited for our kid’s future.”That’s why I come here because you can say what I think without sounding like a trucker.

  3. Here’s to you guys. I’ve got some high hopes, particularly regarding foreign policy, for an Obama administration. You’ve got the ball, now run with it.

  4. When my daughter was 9 months old, I clutched her to me as I watched 9/11 happen and felt so scared for her future. This morning, I have hope. It is a very good day.

  5. I can’t stop crying. The children are sick and whiny, I am stuffy and achy and yet this is a glorious day.Thanks for all your hard work. You can surely say, ‘yes you did.’

  6. I don’t have kids yet, but I thought that exact same thing this morning. That when I do have them, they’ll be born during the Obama years. It’s a very good thing.

  7. I felt the exact same way as the first commentor. I was reading through your post, had a proud, happy smile on my face, and then got teary eyed at “Our children – they’re going to grow up during the Obama years.” How wonderful for them!!!

  8. Great statement about the “Obama years.” There is so much to be excited about. For our children, for us, for our country and beyond. It really does feel like (good) change is in the air. I work for the feds and I’m a teeny bit excited to go to work today!

  9. I’m with PicaboMama and Brooke – the last sentence started the waterworks for me. Ours are 6 and 3 and as Goat Daddy and I sat fiercely holding hands and watching the President Elect speak, the excitement was too overwhelming for me to explain why I felt just like I did when I clutched his hands on our wedding day. It’s the exact same feeling: <> This is going to be SO GREAT. <>

  10. “Our children – they’re going to grow up during the Obama years.” Having raised kids in the Reagan years I really envy you that. What a time it is!

  11. As I was reading this post and looking at the picture of the Obama’s, I got tears in my eyes and thought, “Now things are really going to change.”What an amazing time to be alive!Last night my husband and I were talking about how cool it will be to tell our grandchildren that we were alive when the first African-American president was elected.

  12. My kids are old enough to understand (ages 10 & 12) and they were beside themselves last night, watching the results with us. I'm so proud to be an American today.

  13. Oh how I cried…with joy!! I’m absolutely overjoyed! It’s great for America…but even better for our FUTURE. You better believe that today I’m standing up and shouting…YES WE DID.Signed, sealed, delivered…He’s ours!!! WOOT!

  14. I’m just so thrilled and proud. I’m excited to be raising my child and future children in The Obama Years. It’s nice to have so much hope again.

  15. You made me cry a little bit. Never have I been so proud to be an American. I sat my daughter down and let her watch with me, and I told her, Your Nana got arrested for going to a white school, and tonight, she gets to see a Black Man as President of the US.Be proud of the progress we’ve made.

  16. I often talk to my children while they’re asleep. I can apologize for yelling and remind them that I think they’re great people after a trying day. Last night, I went in to my 7yo at 11pm and kissed him. I whispered, “Obama won” and his eyes flew open, he said “Really?!” and promptly went back to sleep. This is why I talk to them; it does sink in.

  17. As always lady, you have a way with words.>>”Our children – they're going to grow up during the Obama years.”This will be my thought all day!

  18. Mine were old enough to get to stay up and watch. Somehow I know they’ll always remember it. Although I’m so pissed that Prop 8 passed in CA, I am beyond thrilled today. Funny, but I feel like I breathed for the first time in weeks last night.

  19. Anon 12:03 your story about your kids’ Nana just made me cry right back. I read it out loud to my coworkers and they got teary too. We’re all in this together now.

  20. And I hope you sleep easy tonight knowing that while your heartstrings have been tugged, your late night contributions torward this historic event have paid off.

  21. I didn’t wake my almost 3 y.o. son up, but I did whisper in his ear that the future truly is bright for him. (And your post made me cry for the 1,000th time since last night.)

  22. It seems that, for the most part, Republicans are staying away from your comment section today. I did not vote for Obama and thought McCain would make a better president for several reasons, but overall, I am glad that the election is over and our country can move forward together. I believe that both Obama and McCain’s speeches last night were eloquent and moving. They are both amazing men. And I have a lot of hope that our new president can follow through in his promise to all Americans – that he’ll be my president, too.That said, I’m struck by the divisions I’m seeing all day today. It SHOULD be a day we’re all celebrating. Yet, even in your and your readers’ assessments: “Like a triumph of hope over hatred. Of progress over fear”…I don’t believe that either candidate represented hatred, or fear. And not everyone who supported someone other than Obama is a “white trash christian coalition racist emmer effer.” Let’s be excited for the future together and stop the generalizing nonsense that continues to divide us.

  23. Anon, if you don’t think that Palin in particular leveraged hatred and fear of “the other” in order to try and polarize the electorate against Obama, then you and I didn’t follow the same election. I’ll refer you to SueBob’s post at < HREF="http://linkateria.blogspot.com/2008/10/what-has-gop-or-its-members-called.html" REL="nofollow">Linkateria<> which spells it out rather simply. I also saw it in the Libby Dole attack ad on Kay Hagen…and more. That was hateful and mean, pure and simple. So yes, I do think that that was the campaign ran on the other side. I’m glad we’re moving past it. Hopefully forever.

  24. Liz, those were not all statements made by McCain (or Palin, for that matter). If we’re going to say that those horrible, untrue statements are what Republicans as a whole think, which isn’t true, then the exact same can be said on the other side. How many horrible, hate-filled things were said about McCain and Palin? Many. By all Democrats? Absolutely not. I do not believe Obama, Biden, McCain, and Palin are the ones who do most of this crazy, radical talking. They do, however, contribute some with their negative ad campaigns – on both sides. You may not agree, and probably don’t, but let’s not be so one-sided that we can’t see how people on both sides do the exact same pathetic things in the election process. Enough with “sides,” is all I’m saying. You’re right, let’s move past it. And moving past it requires an end to all of this division. For ALL parties.

  25. I love being Canadian,but today, today I am slightly jealous of you – I have tinglies for your nation….

  26. From < HREF="http://www.newsweek.com/id/167581/page/2" REL="nofollow">Newsweek<>: “The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied. Michelle Obama was shaken by the vituperative crowds and the hot rhetoric from the GOP candidates. “Why would they try to make people hate us?” Michelle asked a top campaign aide.”

  27. Liz, I would like to respond to another commenter. I usually just lurk, but, as my 13 year old would say, OMG!?!?!?!?! Anyone that leaves snarky comments and hides behind “anonymous” just invites rebuttal.I will be honest-I had viewed the early election more as a chess game between two extremely intelligent individuals who each brought something to the game. Enter Sarah Palin. She quickly did whatever she could to turn our election–indeed, our national security–into a cesspool that reeked of third-rate competimommy wannabes. The dregs of the carpoolers. That is how Sarah Palin CHOSE to conduct herself. Had she paid attention, she might have seen that Elizabeth Dole has been a similar political albatross for years with her negativity. She quickly made the Republican effort a laughingstock, and she couldn’t seem to stop talking. Sarah Palin apparently made some type of actual decision that playground political tactics would work best.The election took on a sense of desperation, because suddenly, our best hope–Obama–was now our ONLY hope.We have SO much work to do now, together, and hard times do not magically disappear. But I am still so proud of our voters this morning, and everything looks a little more sparkly in our world today.

  28. Beautiful. When the Obamas stepped onto the stage the whole world gasped at the NEW image of the First Family. What moved me most is that for Archer and Fable, that will be as “normal” an image as any other. Truly extraordinary.

  29. Jeez. Nevermind. My name is Katie, and I’m not hiding. I do not have a blog, so I post anonymously because while I read blogs, I do not have my own. Sorry.And, I am not being snarky or arguing against Liz. I’m arguing for both sides. Both have implied negative things about the other in the media (Liz’s ad included), and both are free to do so but take full advantage of the opportunity as well. I completely agree with Girl’s Gone Child. Seeing the four of them on stage together was beautiful. I will shut up now, since that seems to be the general theme, which is a shame.

  30. I am so thrilled that Obama won! I think he is the best thing that has ever happened to the USA! There is such a sense of global optimism. Wonderful!What a shame Rosa Parks didn’t live to see this day.Lex – England.

  31. Katie, I don’t want you to feel like you’re not welcome or that you have to shut up. I simply take issue with your assertion that you “don’t believe that either candidate represented hatred, or fear.” Indeed they did. In a scary, secret service getting involved kind of way. What I hope is that by acknowledging those issues instead of ignoring them is, we might start healing from some very deep wounds inflicted by it all. Like you, like all of us, I am looking forward to brighter days.

  32. My husband and I decided to stop “trying” last night. We can wait four years to have children. Hopefully the lasting effects of this administration will not be too much for them to overcome. We cried last night, too.

  33. Being on the West coast I was lucky enough that my six month daughter was still awake when it was announced. That goes in the baby book for sure. She won’t ever remember, but at least I can tell you later that she did witness this incredible moment in history.

  34. My 4-yr old son voted with me yesterday (literally; he pushed the switches and helped pull the lever to register my vote), and I cant wait to tell him some day that he helped me elect Obama.

  35. I cried when he won. And then I cried when I read this. And THEN I cried (and so did my mother) when I read this to her! She says to pass on that you are AMAZING with words. Neither of us had really thought of it in that context (we voted for him based on his stances on issues), but it’s true – my daughter and nephew (and someday, my brothers’ possible children, if they so choose) will live in a changed world. I’ve never taught my daughter about race – she’s never mentioned it when playing with kids who aren’t white, and I never wanted her to hear the kinds of remarks that I heard from people when I grew up. But one day, I can tell her about an election that changed not only the minds of the people in this country (and through the world), but of an election that made people we love dearly (my father and grandparents) vote for a man who was of a race that they once slurred. To see them CORRECT people to NOT use that word, and to see my father tear up because a man he’d never have talked to when I was younger had just won the Presidency. To see nations cheer and wish, just for one moment, to be Americans. I cried.

  36. i took my 20 month old son in with me to the voting booth…for the same reason…so he could be with me to vote for Obama. I am proud that my son will grow up in the Obama years. So very sad about the blow to gay rights in California, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas. That breaks my heart and scares me on many levels. Yet, i have hope for the Obama future. My son will be proud that we did this. Yes, we can!

  37. In tears. Just in tears. Our children are going to grow up in the Obama years. I’ve never had so much hope. I’m forever changed. Your words were perfect.

  38. You think they are happy in American? You should see the celebrations in East Africa! Kenya declared today a national holiday. For real….Oh happy days….

  39. I’m finally exhaling after holding my breath for the past six months. Part of me is saying “Is it real?” and the other part of me is just so damned happy—like the sun is rising for the first time in 8 long years!

  40. I wept too when I realized what a different world my children are going to be lucky enough to grow up in. I am getting teary now just thinking about it. It’s wonderfully overwhelming. I am the proudest I’ve ever been of being an American. I feel like the entire world is celebrating for us, for themselves, for their children.

  41. I don’t understand people- so argumentative toward Katie and then everyone glosses over Victoria’s comment which is 100% more disturbing. Is it simply because she posted as “Victoria” and not anon? At least Katie acknowledges the fact that we should put all the stupidity from the campaign aside and join forces. And Victoria is trying to protect her unborn children from a Democratic African American President?! Congratulations Victoria on your attempt to breed a new race of assholes.

  42. Anon – that’s why I didn’t respond. Should I protest: “Oh, no Victoria! Have lots of children, please!” I’d rather leave that one be.

  43. The election of Obama as President is a wonderful victory for the whole country, whether you voted for him or not. I ended up not voting for him but I’m happy that he won and I’m excited for some of the much-needed changes I hope he’ll bring to our country.

  44. I’m pregnant right now, and if it takes (my odds aren’t great), this kid will be born during a Democratic administration. My older kid was born in 1998, under Clinton, whereas my younger kid was born in 2005. Guess which kid screams all the time? Guess which kid is super mellow and even-tempered? I’m thinking an Obama baby is bound to be awesome. I feel a little bit bad for my out-of-luck 2005 kid, although I was born during Nixon and I guess I turned out okay-ish.

  45. After reading your eloquent and passion-filled assessment of the election night speeches and their aftermath, I was struck by the responses of those who chose to agree with you and those who chose to lecture you. I side with the cheerleaders. There will be plenty of time to be sad and reflective. Now is the time to call for a better day. Those who choose to modify our happiness with words of moderation do so at their peril. I say it’s Obama Land today and maybe forever. But at least for today let us have our timr in the sun.

  46. Yes but some of our kids cannot have married parents. I am pissed off California so…Let’s fight back on Proposition 8. Let’s boycott California wines, produce and travel. Let’s publicize it. Let’s embarrass them. It worked a few years ago in Colorado. What do say?

  47. Oh my Lord – Victoria! Word, Liz, let’s not attempt to encourage Vicky to procreate.I have never felt more hopeful about the future for my yet-to-be conceived babies. And as they grow up (hopefully to be open-minded, free-thinking, unselfish individuals), I will tell them – likely repeatedly – the story of the night the world changed for the better.

  48. It’s pretty great to see this whole thing through our childrens’ eyes. To think: they do not see Obama as a brown man doing the impossible or Hilary as a woman crashing through a rock-hard glass ceiling. The fact that they do not know or understand how historic all of this really is makes all of it even more amazing.

  49. You are so right. That gave me the chills. My four year old recognizes Obama and proudly says his name everytime she sees him. It’s great!

  50. I might be too late to comment… I’ve had to step away from the blog world for a while, but can I just say, as a Canadian of American heritage, I never thought I’d see this day and I am SO GLAD I was wrong. Congratulations America! You did it!

  51. A good friend of mine woke her 12-year-old son and made him watch Obama’s speech…watching from here in Canada had its own kind of specialness. I felt so tearfully happy and hopeful for all of my American friends.

  52. “Like a triumph of hope over hatred. Of progress over fear.”More like… “D.C. business as usual” as Obama begins to break his election promises by hiring slimy lobbyists for his “new” administration.

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