To present any coherent collection of my thoughts and recollections from the past election-into-elect-into-Inauguration season is beyond me these days. I would, however, like to fire out some ramblings, errant-style, before the first heat of this historic moment passes completely.
To start, here are some jottings I made late in the evening after gathering with friends to watch the election results come in, back on November 4th. We met at an apartment in our neighborhood and then, as it was clear the rising was upon us, we joined a thronging mass of humanity up on Harlem's historic 125th Street to ring in the new era...
The hope is tangible. The joint is jumpin'. The fireworks are poppin'. Car horns and beams of light and chants and clapping and screams and high school girls dancing in the streets and traffic thrown off all over the area. All TVs I hear through open windows on an unseasonably warm night playing the same speech, in loud volume - people cheering out doorways and from rooftops and in living rooms and on street corners and more. The city pulses more than I've ever felt it - a throbbing "Yes we can" and "Yes we did", the realization of dreams of generations, of national pride unparallelled in my experience - "a new kind of patriotism" - we all in this together. Even those who did not vote for him, he WILL reach out to you. An articulate president again, an intelligent president again...
"I may not get there with you, but we'll get there."
Campaign songs blaring from car windows, on the crowd's lips, from the speakers of the rally at 125. 40,000 people at the New York State Office Building. Traffic is completely stopped. Riding in a cab, heading south away from the growing crowd along the main drag of Harlem - no need to hyperbolize the significance of the neighborhood in African-American history and US history in general (Is this a dream deferred realized?!) - riding in that cab, passing celebrating gaggles on sidewalks spilling into the street, buoyed by the spirit of the evening, listening to Barack on the radio, turning it up and nodding, clapping along with the cabbie.
And back at home still I hear the cheers, the honks, the yells - I imagine I will into the night. It's 12:28 and we are mere minutes into a new era. Fireworks. Even dogs getting in on the act - barking up a storm in fits and starts, lulls when the human voices have settled back from the ripples heading out.
Voices on the radio, calling in from their corners of celebration:
"America is full of wonders."
"Everybody is smiling. People are proud to be American again..."
"I have never seen the city so alive.'
Rep. John Lewis - "I don't know if I have any tears left to cry this week."