Proud to be an American Today

Like Michelle Obama, I’ve had many moments were I felt ashamed for my country, many of them occurred while in classrooms of all levels from elementary through college. Lessons that taught me of injustice, ignorance, hatred and all sorts of evil that has transpired on our land but today – today is not one of those days.

Last night, I had an amazing night and the extraordinary thing is – that across America from coast to coast, I am just one of many who had an extraordinary experience.

My day started off with a pit stop to vote in East Harlem. Once I was on the right line, I had only three people in front of me. Work consisted of the usual except that I had one earphone plugged into the news as did many of my coworkers and continually checked for projection polls.

After work, it was my boyfriend’s son’s birthday, so we headed over to The Lion King, and while I detest musicals I must say I was more than pleasantly surprised. The opening scene left me with goose bumps. Almost everything, the sets, the special effects, the costumes, the scenery, the singing and dancing was phenomenal. I was bored by the story having seen the movie with almost every child I ever babysat through college, but at the same time I found it so apropos to be there with my boyfriend (a black father) and his son on this historic special night.

After the show, we went out to eat and it was there at the restaurant that we saw at 11:04pm the words flashing on every plasma screen “Obama elected president of the United States.” I kept saying “it doesn’t say “projected”” trying to confirm that it was actual and once it hit me – that the unbelievable had happened we all started whooping and clapping. Even the foreigners sitting next to us congratulated us.

Afterwards, we decided to take a detour through 125th street and the scene was incredible. I’ve lived in East Harlem all my life, going to political protests and rallies and what not but last night was so spontaneous and incredible – Everyone took to the streets, with cameras, video recorders, banging on cooking pots, chanting “Obama,” cars were honking horns nonstop, Columbia students came from the West, people all of all colors, all ages, on bikes, on foot, alone or in mobs, dancing & screaming, playing musical instruments…It was truly an incredible scene.

At Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. they shut down the street and the crowd was humongous! That’s where we decided to turn the car around and go back to the West side Hwy. On the way home, we listened as McCain congratulated Obama and his supporters booed. Then we listened to Obama and made it home to watch him finish on TV.

As I sat there feeling tremendously elated and unified with so many others and electrified, stinging with the beauty and eloquence of Obama and his words, his humility and his depth, I felt chills and then consequently burst into tears. Yes, we did. We did it, so many thought it was impossibility but it became reality and I was there to witness it!

Our future has never shined brighter.

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