As luck would have it, I found myself in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn on election night. Nervous as all get-out and knowing there'd be no sleep, I walked to the store for a beer. On a street where I've never gotten more than a nod, various groups of people chatted me up, all as worked up as I. I was asked at least 5 times in 2 blocks who I'd voted for. And, for the first time in my life, met teenage boys hanging out on their stoop absolutely obsessing over the returns, and afraid to watch. A group of men set up to play chess all sat instead fixed on the tv they were powering from the light post.
I knew I had to vote for Obama. I often vote Green or abstain, but knew that this time, even though it was certain New York would go blue, I couldn't take the risk. Not only did he need to win, it needed to be a landslide.
I knew how it ended before the station I was watching announced it. People screamed. They ran out of their houses, and screamed some more, shaking their arms in the air and jumping. Kids chanted, to no-one in particular. For hours, cars honked and the people inside shouted to anyone they saw.
I surprised myself by crying. It was huge, and I was grateful to have experienced it in this primarily Black neighborhood to really feel how huge.
I noticed agent inkysocks cried, too, when she encountered teenage boys (by definition, unengaged) who cared passionately about what goes down. Now, to make national politics continue to be relevant to this many young men, to this many people on a whole. To make all the days besides election day matter.
**Thanks to BlackPast.org for the photo. That vote was about the improvement of schools in Black neighborhoods in Seattle.