44th President

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

So I took my readers advice and went to Grant Park tonight. I stood outside for 5 hours to see a glimpse of our new president, but man...it was worth it.

(Above: you can see Obama behind the brown podium)

Here's a recap of my Election Day:

* I voted before work on some shady Illinois voting papers where you color in an arrow. Apparently some polls have computers in this state, but us residents of one of the richest hoods in the city don't have that technology. I filled in my arrows in the lobby of a hotel on a coffee table.

* Stayed at work until 5:00 p.m. Yes, I know this doesn't seem special, but basically all companies in the City of Chicago let their employees go home at 3:00 p.m. to beat the 1 million people coming into the city for the rally - except mine. This actually turned out to be beneficial because my group of 8 went straight to the park.

* The scene on the way to the park was like a baseball game. Vendors were selling t-shirts, buttons and hot dogs. Chicago experienced a seasonably warm night with temps in the 60's during the evening.

* Arrive at Grant Park (the site of Lollapoloza and where I broke my finger playing softball). The City of Chicago starts letting people go through the 4 security checkpoints: Ticket, ID, purse and finally the metal detectors. Let me just say this was more intense than airport security. Then we arrive on the field to an awesome spot - right between the TV view and 50 yards from the stage.

* While we waited (standing) for 5 hours the time flew. Reader Amy sent state updates that excited the group. We were watching CNN and apparently the other channels were calling states a lot earlier. The other amusement was the dramatic CNN updates. Around 10, we were expecting the news of the polls closing in the west coast and rather than determining a blue state...BAM, CNN made the announcement that we had a new Commander in Chief. The crowd went wild as you will see below.

* Brady and I walked two miles home after the rally. Main streets and bridges in Chicago were closed with people peacefully celebrating. I've just never seen this before. I mean anytime I see big crowds is drunkards after concerts and sporting events.

So I started this post at 1:31 a.m. central on election night. I just took a shower to deodorize myself from smoke and wet field, but I must say get this last thing out now.

Tonight, I am so impressed with what I witnessed. The crowd was so peaceful, happy and most importantly diverse. There were whites, blacks, Asians, lesbians, gays and families all together just so excited and energized. It was a great, great feeling and I wish you all could have experienced this with me. I was and am truly proud to be an American.

Here is a video I took below of the jumbo tron. As I mention above, I shot this right after the sudden CNN announcement that Obama won.