With this election coming up, I think back to the election of 2008, specifically the day of the election and the days that followed. I’ll try to keep my political views neutral since politics is one subject that usually turns friendly conversations into heated arguments. And with the election a day away, I have seen plenty of that online for the last year and quite possibly longer than that.
November 4th, 2008- I woke up early that morning ready for what the day had in store for me. I was ready for an adventure as well as the results from the elections. With my bags packed ready to go for a trip out of state, I made my way to the polling station to place my vote for the national, state and local politicians of my choosing. No sooner did I finish voting, I had to rush over to the university campus to get on a carpool van that was on its way to Texas. I was a part of the Percussion Club at my college that had planned and raised money to take a trip to the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) held in Austin, Texas for the week. Normally, this convention is held in places that would require anyone living in Arizona to fly to the city of the convention, so we had to jump at the opportunity to drive to Texas for the day. Leaving at noon, I figured we wouldn’t reach our destination until approximately 2 in the morning, so we would all know the results of the election while on the road.
Being in a car with others with smartphone, they kept the driver and myself in the front updated while we made sure we were on pace to making it at a decent time, especially since I had to be there at a certain time to volunteer for the logistics crew for the convention. And then, somewhere on the road in Texas, we heard from someone in the car that Barack Obama had earned enough Electoral College votes to win the Presidency. With excitement in the car, I wasn’t sure what to think of what was officially a historic day/night. The United States of America’s first mixed racial President who is promising ‘Hope and Change’. At one of the many stops for gas in Texas, I decided to go into the convenient store to grab a soda. I overheard two older gentlemen in cowboy hats talking about the results of the election. One said, “Well, he [Obama] better get Bin Laden within 4 months of his term.” while the other replied, “We’ll see how this turns out.” And the second guy was right, the only thing we all could do is just see what happens.
During the day, I noticed all the papers down in Austin with headlines with the same word in it- “History”. I kind of expected that, and I also expected people on television covering the results with some humor to it. From what I remember, Comedy Central’s Daily Show with John Stewart made some jokes about people’s reaction to the elections in various cities, states as well as other countries (all of which I don’t remember the jokes). But what I wasn’t expecting was the people in the city who were happy with the results. As I walked a half mile from my hotel to the convention center throughout the four days, I couldn’t help but notice the extra “pep” in their step or the “ I’ve got something to be proud of” strut as they walked down the sidewalk. Based on these observations, I concluded that maybe they voted for “Hope and Change” and were happy that they were a part of history. What makes this interesting is one time I was with a group of people who were walking to the hotel and walking towards us was a male of African American decent. We cleared a path for him to pass us by, and as he does, he mutters something that I couldn’t quite catch. As we kept walking towards the hotel (away from the gentleman), I turned to see where he was going. As I do, he turns back to look at us and says, “Yeah, keep walking white boy!” I quickly reply, “Ok, let’s just keep walking away guys.” I was stunned. These thoughts quickly ran through my head, did he refer to me, a Hispanic with a slight Filipino decent, as white boy, or did he call the group of us (who were mostly what the guy called ‘white’)? Is this man feel like he has something over us because of the results of the election? Either way, it was something I wasn’t expecting and won’t forget.
I suppose the good news is that I start night shifts at my job for the holiday season, so I won’t be able to be near a radio or television to see/hear everyone’s over-reaction to the results of the national, state and local elections. It’s also the bad news since I won’t be up to date. I’ll have to have someone keep me posted. But above anything else, I must stay strong in my faith. God has brought us to this moment and He will bring us through it. He already knows who will win tomorrow, and we all must continue to trust Him. May God continue to Bless America!