I am not American.
Nor am I African-American.
I don’t have the right to vote the American President and his election has little impact on me.
But I followed the Presidential Elections 2008… every ‘byte’ of it… as America elected its first Black President- Barack Obama!
Less than hundred years ago, Black people in this country could not vote. Today, the American people have shown how much they can adapt and embrace, by choosing a Black man to lead them. Obama represents ‘Change’ and has inspired a nation brimming with hope. Hope he does justice to these American dreams as the next President of he United States.
For days during the campaign, Republican Vice-President nominee Sarah Palin was our entertainment. Her real interviews, as well as Tina Fey’s portrayal of her on ‘Saturday Night Live’ every week, were light moments we eagerly awaited. Post elections, we really miss the political shows and await something equally interesting to fill the void.
We watched every sound byte, every debate, every campaign ad. We used news aggregators for info on the race for the White House and the world’s perception of this all important race. All said and done, I should credit inspirational Obama and cute and entertaining Sarah Palin for the interest I took in these elections.
We watched the results unfold on CNN on the big screen in Dilip’s lab on Election Night. Obama’s victory speech was good. But McCain’s speech accepting his defeat, was phenomenal. It was a very dignified speech and I really felt sorry for the Republican, who, if he had won, would have been the oldest US President to take charge.
As we walked home after Obama’s victory speech, we saw that the celebration was already underway on the streets. Everybody, every single soul on the street, was dancing or at the least, skipping along, giving ‘high-fives’ and shouting ‘Congratulations’ and ‘Yo!Obama’ to each other.
Cars honked incessantly as a token of support when they passed revelers. For a moment I thought I was on MG Road in Cochin, the city I grew up in, in India. Cops wisely ignored the pandemonium and made no effort to break up the crowd or clear the streets. I later heard that people were even dancing on cop cars!
It was one of the finest moments of ‘Berkeley-ism’. Though the elections had very little to do with me, I am thrilled that I was at a place… at a time… when history was made!
Below are some of the videos I took on Election Night in Berkeley: