This is an incredibly important day. I am so happy and hopeful, words fail me. I hope you will forgive me, but I am going to write about politics tonight. I normally try to keep that out of my blog because although I am a very political person, I like to keep this space separate from that. I support your right to speak your mind and have your own individual opinions. Please respect mine. I believe President-Elect Barack Obama - there are no red states, no blue states, there are only the United States of America.
I spent the evening with friends at a gay sports bar in Atlanta. There was an Election Watch Party sponsored by a group of Obama supporters. I started out with a good friend, Sweet M, and then a large group of friends met up with us an hour later. It was a blast, but I do really miss DC.
I just had to watch the results in public, surrounded by people who share my views and would cheer when I cheered. It's like watching a UT game at a UT bar or a Colts game at a Colts bar. I once watched a Colts game at a Steelers bar and actually cried (Football is important after all - it was a big game and Sweet Tony Dungy's son had just died).
Georgia, our home state, was one of the first states called by CNN. It was red. Of course. And everyone in the bar booed loudly, which I found especially amusing. Booing our own state? I love this bar. Just like booing our own team at a UT or Yankees game - we demand perfection.
CNN was on almost every TV. Atlanta is, after all, CNN's home. I did ask our cutie waiter (gay as the day is long) to turn one of the channels to NBC because I love the little ice map. How do they color the ice rink? It's so exciting watching all the states change color ooo ahh. And I have to admit I have a bit of a crush on Brian Williams.
The best part of the evening (well, duh, aside from the result) was CNN's special graphics. Oh, they outdo themselves every year. I just can't wait to see John Stewart make fun of this one. They had...a hologram. Yes, Anderson Cooper, the Silver Fox, and Wolf Blitzer spent parts of the evening talking to a hologram. My favorite was when Will.I.Am. of the Black Eyed Peas appeared as a hologram. I'm not sure what his qualification was to appear on CNN, but I'm pretty sure it involved being a three-dimensional laser image.
Sweet M really enjoyed the hilarity of this special effect. Laughing, she pointed out, "I mean, a hologram? Are we in the 1980s? They do know the 80s are over, right? And that JEM and the Holograms already did this?"
Seriously. A hologram. Oh and the greatest was the tagline at the bottom said: Will.I.Am. Via Hologram. The big questions of the night were, "What is Anderson looking at when he talks to the hologram?" and "Are the holograms live? Or were they taped?"
Sweet M also pointed out that CNN was probably pretty pleased with their hologram graphic. "My question is, how long has CNN had this hologram technology just waiting in the wings? Were they saying, 'Ooo! Election Night's the night to unveil this to the world!'? Is it really that hard to do? Is it a big deal that CNN had the technology first?"
I suggested that perhaps MSNBC used cartoons (I love you, Keith Olbermann, but Ben Affleck did a good job of showing how cartoonish you can be) and Fox News had actual aliens (i.e. Bill O'Reilly and Karl Rove).
Sweet M and I must have looked troubled because a man came by our table and said, "Don't worry. I'm not worried. It's going to be ok. He's going to win. I woke up this morning, and I just knew it. I felt at peace."
We laughed and thanked him.
"When I woke up today, all I was thinking about was, 'What am I going to wear?' I am not a gay man that dresses. I don't dress well. But I wasn't worried about the election at all, just what outfit to put on."
He was our best friend of the night. Periodically, he came over and encouraged our group. At one point, he asked my name. I told him and he kissed my hand saying, "Yes, The Beautiful One." He went around the table complimenting the rest of my friends. The Sexy One. The Irresistible One. When Sweet M asked our friend for his name, he answered, "The One You Wish You Could Sleep With."
As the results were pouring in, I was sending and getting text messages from all my favorite people. None of us could believe it was really happening. I honestly bet my mother (my hardcore Republican mother) a bottle of wine that McCain would win. I was betting on America being easily scared, racist and ignorant. That's not to say that everyone who voted for McCain is any of those things (duh, of course not). Just that I thought there were enough terrible people in this great country to push McCain over the edge. I underestimated our nation. I was wrong. How dare I dismiss our progress so easily, how dare I deny myself hope.
America is taking a chance on something different. Right now, it's 1:06 am. I've been home for 20 minutes, and the horns have not stopped honking outside my Midtown apartment, the people are still cheering.
A couple of my friends saw that Oprah was crying and shouted that they were sure she was so happy, she was giving things away to everyone she met tonight. "You! You can have a house! A car for you! A European vacation for you! No! Houses for everyone!"
I have never been more proud to be an American. After 9/11, I reacted more like and felt more like a New Yorker than an American. Today, I finally see America for the first time. That's not to say I'm not patriotic, that I don't love my country or that I'm not grateful for all the freedoms I am blessed with. I am. But today, I see everything in America that I always believed in but had never seen or experienced so fully. I love America because I believe in equality. I believe in opportunity. I believe in taking care of our fellow man. I believe in grace and dignity for everyone. I believe in tolerance for difference. I believe in justice for all. And I actually, finally, believe that hope can be realized. It's as though everything I've ever believed about our country and about humanity became true in that moment. I am full of hope. God Bless the United States of America.
"It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union." - Susan B. Anthony
"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis." - Abraham Lincoln
"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." - Thomas Jefferson
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer...And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope." - President-Elect Barack Obama
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Posted by Penny Lane at 12:48 AM