It has almost been a week since election night, however, I think it’s still safe to say that those of us that cast a vote for Barack Obama are breathing a collective sigh of relief. Last Tuesday night was rife with emotion and it certainly took its toll on me. For me, I think, it was a lethal mix of sleep deprivation and anxiety. But as I think about November 6th I can’t help but think of how grateful I am for that day.
I was lucky enough to have gone to the polls with my parents. We cast our ballot in the swing state of Virginia. It was a split decision that I made the morning before the election – spend the night at my folks’ house, vote early, leave absolutely nothing to chance.
I got to my parents house the evening of November 5th. Earlier that day I called home and asked my mother if she would have dinner ready (you have to ask because there are no guarantees!). I got home that evening and my Mom had some of the finest carryout ready for me. Styrofoam take out containers and all! That evening I also had the chance to introduce my parents to Spotify. We probably set up for an hour playing songs on demand that they wanted to hear. I slept in my old room with strict instructions from my mother and father that the plan was to be at the polls by 5:30 am. I must admit that I winced at the thought…at which point my parents gave me that look that said, you can do what you want to do but we’ll be pulling out of the driveway at 5:30 am, with or without you. Understood
The morning of November 6th we were in line at 5:30 as planned. My parents were right to have stuck to such a strict schedule. Even with our early arrival there were approximately 60-70 folks ahead of us. I think about that early morning — rising at 4:45 am, finally leaving the polls at 6:30 am — and in addition to being thankful for my parents smart planning, I’m thankful that I had that entire experience with them.
To be clear, we always vote. Not voting is never an option. However, this election was personal. To see how far we’ve come as a country. To see that more of us are alike than not alike. To see that we can re-elect a man not based on the color of his skin but by the content of his character and to be able to walk with your head a bit higher because that man just happens to also look like you…to get to experience that with my Mom and my Dad…well, that’s quite simply the stuff that memories are made of.