10 November 2008

American History

I've been avoiding politics on this blog. So, in lieu of politics, I give you a piece of American history (ok, slightly political). 
I was in Grant Park to witness one of the most significant moments in American history. I was in Grant Park the night America elected its first African-American President. I was in Grant Park the night MY vote actually helped to elect a president. I was in Grant Park the night MY generation stood up and took responsibility for their country's future. 

On November 4, 2008, Don and I joined 120,000 other people on Hutchison Field in Grant Park to celebrate the election results and hear Barack Obama speak. This night was a full circle experience not just for our country, but for Don and myself as well. Ever since the 2004 DNC, we've been hoping Barack would run for president. For the first time in our young lives, we were involved in a political campaign. Beginning in January of 2007, we started doing our part to support Barack Obama's bid for the Democratic nomination, and eventually president. We donated our money, our time, our cell phone minutes, and our prayers. We called volunteers and voters. We voiced our opinion even when it wasn't popular. And for the first time our vote for president counted. 

Because Don is so awesome, he was able to score us a much coveted ticket to get onto the field for last Tuesday's party. Before we were on the field, I was really nervous about being in the midst of such a large crowd. Once we were there, however, my fears were calmed. The energy of the crowd was so positive and electric. Each time CNN announced that another state had come in for Barack, the crowd erupted in cheers. During John McCain's concession speech, the crowd in Grant Park was extremely respectful and clapped for the great Senator. (I would like to note, that although I'm a fervent supporter of Barack Obama, I have the utmost respect for John McCain, and think that his speech that night was very gracious and genuine.) Then the celebration portion began. We said the Pledge of Allegiance with 120,000+ people. We listened in awe during the National Anthem. And then Barack Obama took the stage and gave a serious and inspiring speech. People were crying, hugging, laughing. On November 4, 2008, Chicago was the center of the world. And we were a part of it - a night that I will forever remember. 

Whether you agree with Obama's policy or not, you can not deny what a great and historical moment this is for our country and the world. You also can't deny that he is the first transformational figure to inspire my generation, a generation of apathetic entitlement, to get up and get involved in their government and communities. Millions of Americans, of all ages, who had never been involved in politics volunteered their time and talents to help elect Barack Obama. 

And it worked. 

So I ask you, what were you inspired to do to help your candidate? Did your candidate inspire you to make phone calls, join your neighbors and volunteer, or donate small amounts of money to make a positive change? Did your candidate inspire you to research BOTH sides of the issues, to respectfully listen to both parties, and to engage in intelligent and respectful discussion with those whom you disagree? The election is over. An overwhelming number of Americans voted and put their trust in our next president. And as Americans, we all have a responsibility to work together to be involved in our government and communities to make our world a better place. If that's not something worth believing in, then I don't know what is.

This last picture is the sea of people filling Michigan Avenue after the rally. As far as you could see up and down Michigan Avenue, were thousands of elated people walking, dancing, cheering. There were 250,000 people in the Grant Park area, and not a single incident or arrest occurred. 

(On an even more serious note, I ask that you please pray for the safety of our President-elect and the other servants and leaders of our great country. They sacrifice more than we can ever imagine for our freedom, and it is our patriotic duty to do so.)

1 comment:

allie_b said...

I'm jealous...and your pies look amazing!