frances in the city


OBAMApalooza
November 6, 2008, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Chicago!, Crazy humans.

Although it’s unlikely that you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past year, it’s possible. So news flash: Chicago’s own Barack Obama was elected president of the United States on Tuesday. And he held his post-election rally two (2) blocks from my apartment. Two (2) blocks. Our classes on Tuesday afternoon were cancelled and all buildings except for dorms shut down at 6 p.m. so Columbia security detail could assist the Chicago Police Department. So I had two choices: I could hide in my apartment and avoid potential riot, or I could join the thousands of people in Grant Park witnessing history. 

I went to Grant Park.

The products people were selling were absolutely ridiculous. The shirt on the right says "I was there when change HAPPEN at Grant Park. Nov, 4th 2008. Someone really should have proofread that screenprint.

The products people were selling were absolutely ridiculous. The shirt on the right says "I was there when change HAPPEN at Grant Park. Nov, 4th 2008. Someone really should have proofread that screenprint.

We started out with the idea of walking around, taking in the sights. Then we sat down to watch some CNN coverage on the jumbo-trons. Then we decided we’d stick around til the results came in. Maybe an hour later we looked back and realized that there was absolutely no way we could get out until the entire thing was over. So Mom, I know what you said about staying away from crowds…it didn’t work out. I have never seen so may people in my entire life. Really. There is no way I can convey the quantity of people. Not even in pictures. Just so so many people. 

Lots of buildings were decorated with flags and lights. There were so many reporters from the most random parts of the world. The one on the far right was from Australia.

Lots of buildings were decorated with flags and lights. There were so many reporters from the most random parts of the world. The one on the far right was from Australia.

I actually didn’t take my camera…it’s been acting screwy lately. But my friend Alison is an amazingly talented photography major. These obviously aren’t her best work, but she was really excited to document such a historic night.

30 and were maybe 20 feet away from the main of four large screens.

We got there around 7:30 and were maybe 20 feet away from the main of four large screens.

It was really odd basically watching TV with thousands of people. As CNN projected results from each state, the crowd would cheer or boo. The voters were clearly not Kansans.

Emotions were really high. People really believe in Obama, and there was definitely a sense of unity in the park.

Emotions were really high. People really believe in Obama, and there was definitely a sense of unity in the park.

When Obama was announced as the president-elect, the crowd went CRAZY. Grown men were crying, people were screaming, hugging each other, jumping around, yelling from the tops of the portapotties…the responses were unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I mean, I wasn’t in Lawrence last year when the Jawhawks won the NCAA tournament, but I have a feeling this was a little more intense. 

A five block walk that usually takes fifteen minutes took an hour. I got back to my apartment around 12:30. Honking and screaming continued until I fell asleep at 2 a.m. and I woke up the next morning to take an art history test, which I likely failed. I would like to be the first American to blame the president-elect for the misfortunes his administration has caused my academic career. Blaming politicians is cool, right?

I really can’t complain though. I was in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois with over 100,000 people, on election night, sharing air, sky, and elbow room the first African-American president of the United States of America.

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Can’t say I agree with your political stance, but it sure sounds like an exciting experience 🙂

Comment by Mel Steinbach

Just to break the awkward silence… I don’t think there was any endorsement of a political stance implied here.

I was in college when Clinton claimed to be the first black president. That went well.

Hope you had a great time and enjoy the rest of the semester. Eat extra turkey for me at Runamuc. I can’t make it this year.

Comment by Uncle Kenneth

I think you made the right choice for the evening. Lucky.

Comment by Jenni

Enjoyed reading about the historic night. It will be one to tell your grandkids about! I’m sure their history books will mention it–maybe you will be in the picture!

Comment by Shari




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