We did it! I've been wearing a stupid-silly grin ever since about 10:00pm eastern time yesterday evening (alright, I may have taken a couple of hours off for some sleep), and it's not dissapearing anytime soon. I am so thrilled that I got to vote in this election, and that my vote was counted as part of the "youth voter" demographic for one last time. Our vociferous support for Obama helped him win the white house, and I think it's shown us how much influence we actually do have.
Above all, I'm hopeful for the future. I know that amidst the noise of celebration, some have asked, "hopeful for what?", and "what kind of change?" While I won't pretend to speak for everyone who's savoring victory today, I would like to identify what it is I'm looking forward to.
A good bit of the Obama campaign was based on grassroots efforts; people worked within their own communities to register voters, host benefits and house parties, and canvas for their candidate. And now we've seen an example of how much influence individual actions can have at the national level. I see Obama's victory as the beginning of a time when we uphold community service as a mainstream value, and when everyone is motivated to donate some time to uplifting their cities and towns.
Obama's message hinges strongly on this ethic of service, and after hearing his address at grant park, I don't think that will be changing anytime soon. He addressed the public as a president who's willing to forego the platitudes and cynicism we've gotten used to hearing over the past eight years.
I, like millions of others, heard his call to action, and I'm inspired. For some time now, I've wanted to make a career out of community-based arts education, and in a political climate that seems to respect, and hopefully, reward those endeavors, I feel emboldened. I'm excited for the next four years - for the good work that will be done in Washington, and for the good work I will do here, in Tuscaloosa.
Now, let's take a day to celebrate!