Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What it was like to be in DC last night

From my fabulous friend Alec, who marched upon the White house Last night...

What an incredible night last night! My friend Neil and I were watching the returns at his apartment but we soon realized we had to be out somewhere. We ended up at a bar called JRs, where quite a crowd had gathered. A huge cheer went through the bar when CNN called Virginia for Obama (in the frenzy I missed the Ohio call!), followed soon by the west coast states which wrapped up the election. Watching the concession and acceptance speeches with everybody at the bar yelling and clapping made it almost seem like we were there too. Afterwards we walked up 17th Street where lots of people were out, standing on corners cheering on the people in their cars honking their horns as they drove by. Attracted by lots of noise, we walked over to 16th and U Street where the corner was being taken over by revelers. I pity the people driving around at that time * though none of them seemed to mind too much.

We noticed that the police had closed U Street for a few blocks so we walked over to 14th and U where a street party was in progress (this corner is the historic center of the African American community in DC, an area destroyed by riots in the 60s and only recently revitalized - it was really cool to be there as we elected our first black president). There were people dancing all over the street, and even on top of a bus shelter. Several drum circles provided the beat, and everybody was smiling and cheering and chanting and giving high fives to everybody else. It was such a diverse crowd of old and young (well OK mostly young people!) and every color imaginable * it was exhilarating. Fireworks exploded over our heads to even more cheers and chants of *Obama* and *Yes We Can* and *USA!*.

The crowd started moving down the street, and before we knew it we were along for the march down 16th Street to the White House. The police closed the southbound lane for the parade, with drums and whistles and even people clanging on pots and pans to keep up our spirits (as if we needed it!), interspersed with the drivers stuck in the northbound lane honking and waving out their car windows. We all waved and screamed and cheered right back. Neil and I kept wondering if the cops would really let us all march right to the White House but soon enough the crowd was
spilling through Lafayette Park and joining the people already on Pennsylvania Ave. More dancing and cheering and chanting (including the ever-popular Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Goodbye! directed right at the White House * take that Bush!). I*ve never experienced anything like that before * it sounds really corny but everybody was so happy and hopeful and excited for the future for the first time in ages. It was really inspiring and made me feel so lucky to live in our capitol. I wish you
all could have been there to experience it too!

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