I cried like a little girl when the state of Pennsylvania was called for Obama. And then teared up again when the Democrats surpassed 51 Senate seats. And then really lost any composure that remained when the final projections were in and CNN announced to me and a room packed with Obama supporters that he was to be our next president.
I watched us make history on the big screen.
As many others have said in the days since, I think that by electing Obama, Americans were rejecting fear. Fear of things that have plagued the country since September 2001 -- fear of terrorism, fear of an economy that has shattered beneath us, fear of the unknown. In a time when there is so much to want to hide from, we didn't make the same choices out of fear of change. We started on the path to real change.
I grew up in a family that was, and still is, split politically. My father, a veteran of three wars, is a staunch Republican. My mother, a teacher for more than 25 years, is a passive Democrat. But it was my father that first sparked my interest in politics. He cared about local elections as well as national. He regarded his representation highly, and remains in regular touch with several of his local politicians. He subscribes to the theory that if you don't vote, your right to complain about the outcome is diminished.
As someone who has always been interested in politics, it was remarkable to see so many people -- members of my family, friends, coworkers -- take an active interest in this presidential election. It's a renewed interest for the country that I hope doesn't end before November comes to a close. It's crucial that people remain interested, inspired and ready to embrace change over the next four (and heaven willing, 8) years. I'm incredibly proud that we've taken the first step, but now the work really begins.
As I watched the Democratic Senate seats climb on Tuesday night (I was maybe one of four people who was), I shouted another thing that we could accomplish with each seat secured. Green energy and energy independence. Healthcare for those who need it (mine and so many other uteruses are cheering!). Better education for those that want it. Things I really care about can happen.