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November 9, 2008

The thing I’ll remember most about November 11th 2008 is my walk home after the election was called for Obama.

We had gone over to a neighbor’s house for dinner – a young family that had recently moved in on the street who are also conservative Christians. Mostly we watched the kids play with their impressive collection of vintage Star Wars toys from the 80’s and halfway watched Fox News with the sound off.

It all pretty much went down as foreseen as we ate dinner.  McCain’s gave a classy and gracious concession speech, marred only by too big number of idiot booing Obama’s name. F**ckrs. Then it was time to go get the kids in bed and ready for school the next day. I also had a ton of work to do for a worship service the next night. I couldn’t really stomach seeing Obama’s speech, even though I knew it was historic, and was frankly glad for what ever meager excuses I had to divert myself from it.

The walk up our little dead-end sidestreet, just 7 houses end to end was dark and deserted. It goes slow with two young kids in tow, believe me.

But it sure wasn’t quiet.

It was an amazing sound. An amazing feeling in the air, almost like the sound electrified it or gave it an extra element of life it doesn’t usually possess.

It was the sound of jubilation. Jubilation in the streets, man! And I have to say, it was quite grand.

No it wasn’t the crowds on TV, and for me it was much better that way. It was real, and human and immediate. Not in the slightest bit dangerous.

“Obama!” Shouted a young woman running down the street. “Whooo-hooo Obama!” Shouted the black family across the street as they piled out onto the porch from their tiny house. “Obama!” from a car speeding by. Jubilation, in a neighborhood usually quite subdued except for the thump and buzz of rapmobiles, sirens from the nearby firestation and circling helicopters.

On that night, no music. Just horns honking. Black people happpier en masse more than I’ve ever seen. That kind of thing is contagious. What ever bit of self-pity or fear or worry for the future I had simply evaporated and a big smile came to my face.

I laughed out loud.

The Countess looked at me like I was nuts. Maybe I was.

“Why are you laughing?”

Surely it was obvious.

“Yes, but it’s like their laughing as they’re about to be driven off the cliff!” (I quote from memory).

True enough I thought. Perhaps. But that jubilation counts for something. It’s not just therapeutic pablum. It’s instant therapeutic benefit to the entire country in a very real way, whatever comes next, whatever the failings that are baked in to Obama’s world view.

I’m willing to be that many of my neighbors, perhaps like Michelle Obama, had never truly felt proud of their country before. Maybe they can begin to see what I have seen in this country. Maybe they can now begin to see that this really is a great country – the greatest, in fact. Maybe we can begin to own our failures together instead of blame others. Maybe we can hope together. For a little while.

Yes, it was a like being at a great dance without a date, and knowing you’re not going to get asked to join in. You can focus on being on the outs, or you can vicariously enjoy the happiness of others. I choose, for that time at least, the latter.

I was there, and I heard the jubilation of my neighbors. It melted my heart.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. steve permalink
    November 9, 2008 8:35 am

    This reminds me of a line in a Simon and Garfunkel song:

    “Jubilation, she loves me again, I fall on the floor and I’m laughing”.

    Glad to hear your heart got melted. I think that’s almost always a good thing.


  2. Timmy C. permalink
    November 12, 2008 7:59 pm

    A couple of left handed compliments aside, I think this is one of my favorite of your posts here, Dave….well done.

    – Timmy C…

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