Sunday, November 09, 2008

It's Obama!

Obama Yes We Did PosterThis historic election is still sinking in. Every morning I wake up and pinch myself.

Did America just really elect Barack Obama president? Did America really just demand a change? Did America really just do the right thing? Or, is it all a dream? (You see, we all have a dream.)

We spent the last two weeks traveling in London, around Belgium, and in Paris. We were in Paris for the election.

In Belgium (see here for my Belgian connections), Paul predicted an Obama victory and said that after the election he would wear his Obama for President hat and get his picture taken at the Arc de Triomphe. Our Belgian friends were rooting for us all the way. And even though we believed that Obama should win, we wondered what election irregularity would occur that would steal Pennsylvania like Ohio was manipulated in 2004 and Florida in 2000. We were cautiously optimistic.

Eiffel Tower, Paris

On November 4th Paul donned his Obama for President hat. We went up the Eiffel Tower (it was a sunny day) and then over to Sacré-Coeur Basilica to get a great view of the city. A few people shot encouraging comments and smiles our way. It is an understatement to say that all of Europe longed for an Obama victory. They have been watching this campaign with intense interest. After all, what we do affects them. A lot.

We heard that Harry’s New York Bar on Rue Daunou in Paris was a gathering for those interested in the U.S. Presidential Election. Ha! It was a veritable block party! The police barricaded the street, the bar was packed, and a long line of election watchers waited to get in. We met three young men from Paris who peppered us with questions about American politics. They were interested in our thoughts of Obama, would he prevail?Three Parisians watching the U.S. election results

As it turns out, Harry’s holds a straw vote every presidential election (Obama won). We stayed at Harry’s until 2:00am and when we left, there were no results yet.

Harry's New York Bar in Paris

Back at the hotel, we watched SkyNews and CNN. When Obama won Pennsylvania at 3:00am, we felt we could go to sleep.

The next morning, we turned on the TV just as Barack was giving his acceptance speech.

People will continue writing about this election for weeks. Where were you? What was it like? What were you doing? (My friend Tom hosted a poll in his garage in California and was just barely putting things away when the election was called.)

Sandy Banks, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, printed the following text message a man sent to his mother, Margaret Kean, during the campaign.

Rosa Parks sat, so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama is running so our children can FLY.

And we all voted so Obama could win. Yes we did.Paul celebrating the Obama victory at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris