I did not watch the election go final with a large group. I did not cheer for the new President-elect in a noisy room. I did not call my friends to brag and boast about the news. My text messages were reactive, not proactive. In fact, one of the happiest nights of my life turned out to be one of the most subdued nights of my life.
I voted over a week ago. Therefore, the fervor of Election Day spared me. While the status messages of many urged their readers to go out and vote, I casually ignored them. "Been there, done that" is what I would say each time I saw a co-worker walk back in with an "I Voted" sticker affixed to their shirts.
Whispers from nearby cubicles told of the fear that resided in the hearts of many. What if the Bradley Effect is real? What if this happens? What if that happens? What if they steal this election from us...
All the while, I focused on my daily tasks. Swollen with a silent confidence. Not boastful. I was simply sold on the fact that this could happen and that this would happen.
As I sit here now, the next President of the United States has just been introduced to a group of raucous supporters in Chicago. In him that aura still resides. I believe today as much as I believed yesterday and the day before and so on. I believe now as I believed then.
Cameras panning over the crowd show individuals that presumably hail from all walks of life. In one frame there is Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey, in the next their are everyday Americans who simply believed in the type of change that no one really believed could become a reality.
The microphone echoes Mr. Obama's refrain, "it belongs to you, it belongs to you..."
While he tells me the story of MY election, I see in him a single strain of relief. I see in him a dash of fear. I see in him a streak of awe, as he effortlessly stares this pending enormous job title in the eyes. Even still, I see in him a quiet confidence that will be necessary as he sets out to combat the many evils that are plaguing this great nation. As he speaks, I believe that when he succeeds we'll know. I also believe that when he fails, he'll tell us so.
He belts out with a newfound hope, "our stories are singular, but our destinies are shared." A new era of American leadership is upon us.
As he tells the story of a 106-year old woman who cast her vote for him today, I stray off to an article on CNN.com. Earlier this evening Mr. Obama received his congratulatory phone call from President Bush:
"Mr. President-elect, congratulations to you. What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters. Laura and I called to congratulate you and your good bride."
"I promise to make this a smooth transition. You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations and go enjoy yourself."
President-elect Obama's journey will be great not because it is fun or because it is exciting. Instead, it will be great because so much is at stake.
In this election, we were told that WE CAN and WE DID! As we open this new chapter of change in American history, we will continue be told that WE CAN, and I pray that WE WILL.
May God bless America and may the fundamentals of our society that have made us as great as we are today, make our nation even greater as we move forward.