Grant Park, 2008

Watching newly elected American President – first of our race – Barack Obama, hearing his words as he assuaged American doubt that we are a place where all things are possible, reminding us that the dreams of our founders still lives and that we were a part of it, firmly cementing our place in the arc of history bending toward justice, surrounded by new friends, feeling the change course through the park, I was overcome with collective emotion.  

I, and the hundreds of thousands beside me, was part of something. I was warm – despite it being cold – I was comfortable despite it being crowded – I was hopeful despite the economy plummeting and the Iraq War raging – I was proud and we were truly more than a collection of individuals. We were united. We were not cynical, doubtful, or defeated.  

Image result for barack obama grant park aerial

(Image courtesy of The Telegraph)

Drones circled above but their downcast light could not compete with the light of hope we cast upward, outward, forward, and inward. This footage would have been impossible had this change come decades prior. Drones would come on to take on new skills, meanings, and tasks in the next eight years as the arc of history continued bending, still toward justice.  

It may seem insignificant, having footage from above, but when you’re in a crowd of a quarter of a million individual humans and you all feel united, it isn’t until you later see the footage on the news that you realize – we truly were numerous, strong, and proud together.  

So, did we all just overdose on hope and optimism that night? Did we campaign, canvass, doorknock, and phonebank for the previous two years just to win and go to sleep for the next decade? Does a hope hangover exist? Does America have one? Do we need some hair-of-the-dog in the form of an exciting new candidate? One who believes in hope, positivity, progress, and a moral arc bending toward justice?  

I don’t know what I’m writing, I don’t know what it has to do with votes, but I know this much: I was a part of a hopeful many, a movement, and a moment in history that mattered. It’s captured on film, it’s part of American history, and we were all in it together. And if that moment mattered, we have to honor it by continuing to believe in, hope for, work towards, and lust after progress. Progress for the sake of progress – not power, prosperity or politics. Progress for the sake of progress.  


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