Sarah and Aurora celebrate in Grant Park!Wednesday, November 5th 2008 by sarah
Dictation from Aurora:
So, I haven’t seen Sarah in forever, right? Cause it’s been awhile. So Sarah was already down south in Indiana and since it’s so close and since we were clearly both Obama supporters, how fun would it be to combine a visit with this most historic election. It just seemed like a really good excuse to get her to come up. So she steals Belton’s Suburban, drives up, but even after she changed her ticket on Alaska Airlines and paid the fee and everything, getting into the event seemed impossible. The overflow that we were looking forward to, the non-ticketed “reject” party that we were going to get into wasn’t even going to happen, so we were all figuring we’d have fun anyway. So we had vaguely discussed driving down to Ft. Wayne and canvassing, even though Sarah spent all day driving up from Indy. But they would give us one ticket if we did. But of course they were leaving at 4:00 in the morning, and 4:00 in the morning? Seriously? So we slept in. So at 10:00 that morning, we wake up and go to the thrift store to get some t-shirts. Instead of convincing voters to do their civic duty and do what’s best for the country, we spent the ENTIRE day eating Swedish cookies from a bakery, planning how to swindle as many free cups of coffee out of Starbucks as possible, laughing at how we had gotten out of volunteering, and ironing on fuzzy letters, whilst screaming at Brian Williams on TV and foolishly drinking wine on an empty stomach. So we make these beautiful handmade, handstitched t-shirts, it’s 6:30, the east coast’s polls have been closed for a bit. Brian Williams is matter-of-factly telling us that PA may or may not go for Obama. So we decided to get going downtown to meet Matt and see if we could get into the overflow, or if we would have to hang out with a bunch of drunk people in a bar. So we’re there, and while taking an extra 10 minutes to plug in Aurora’s Creative Labs Zen V MP3 player, compulsively checking email, Barack Obama comes through.
Yes we can…go to the rally. Yes we can. Yes we do. Aurora has a ticket ready for 2 people. Two people, and yet we have three people. Jumping up and down and screaming ensued. But what about the third person? So we called Matt, gloated, rubbed it in, sang about it. After 15 minutes, a serious photo shoot, and I believe it was Kentucky later, Matt calls from his office. Can we all go together? Yes we can. Matt also has a ticket to the event! The news was reporting that these tickets were going for $5000! There were 70,000 tickets available and yet 9,000,000 people in Chicagoland. And through lottery, (not our civic duty), but through lottery, we were getting them. For those of you reading, you may have gotten a text from Sarah. She was very excited.
We head to the train with the radio in order to inform the passengers of the election coverage. We make friends with a man with a really ugly hat. He loves the Alaskan for Obama t-shirts, and the update, for Pennsylvania has just been called for Obama! The train, (at least the 4 of us), go wild. Everyone else seems a bit annoyed. The train ride is easy, the walk to the park is easy, we find the general ticketing area, Aurora confuses her boyfriend, Sarah has to save the day because Aurora doesn’t understand why saying “no, the other traffic light” is not producing results. Oddly enough, we run into Joe Hankey, who we knew 5 years ago in Juneau. He’s very kind, even though he barely remembers who we were. There was no pushing, no shoving, no complaining, only happy people, giggles, and cheers. We got in within 20 minutes, and the walk was over 1/2 a mile. It was 70,000 people walking 1/2 a mile, excitedly heading to Grant Park. The mood was celebratory, it was like New Years or a fair, or even Christmas Day, when everyone is pleasing and thank yous and smiles and waves. It was surreal.
So we’re there. We’re in the middle of it. Literally in the center. Look for us, we’re by the flags. (Those are Aurora’s directions.) And 70,000 people cheered when we won Ohio. And Virginia. And we cheered for everything, all together. The spirit was electric. And at 10:00, with three hours of polling left to go in Alaska, before California or any of the west coast states had been called, and he won. And it was deafening. And there were cheers, and screams, and our throats are sore today. Grant Park gave up on CNN after that and instead played music. All 70,000 of us singing, dancing, cheering, crying, hugging and waiting. Also, we are dying of thirst and our feet are killing us from standing for hours!
Barack Obama gives his most eloquent, beautiful, hopeful, tear-inducing speech, and we make our way home. Incredible.