We went to Liz's and for the most part, all of us Ph.D. students watched quietly-making the occasional joke, eating chips and laughing over Liz's cat Schnell. There was nervous laughter when McCain took the lead super-early on, then silent hope and slight disbelief when we, eventually, saw the polls on two different channels call Obama the president elect. I should explain that we were skeptical because the states they were calling had only reported 1-2% of their votes. It seemed too uncertain and days past of election nights of our youths when we were tucked into bed with the understanding of a certain positive president only to awaken to a new reality danced in my head. We just didn't want a disappointment. We didn't want to celebrate or go to bed with one certainty and awaken to a reality we had no real warning of.
Fi was stuck at play practice until just before Obama gave his acceptance speech, just after McCain gave his concessional speech, but he showed up right when it counted. We all piled into Liz's living room in time to watch Obama take the stage.
As he spoke, I couldn't help but gaze around the room to gauge the reactions of my fellow classmates and peers. In the eyes of most of my friends, there were tears, silent sighs of relief, glistening cheeks and dazed, hopeful gazes. My heart elated and I felt hopeful. Not the kind of uncertain, make-believe hopeful we feel when we first meet someone we might connect with or like, but the kind of hopeful we feel when we know we are in the company of our soulmate-the person we were made to complete. We felt the same hope with our president elect this evening: the hope that exists when we are certain our lives will change for the better.
We have invested in President Barack Obama. I would like to say we have invested in him only superficially, but we haven't. It wouldn't be the truth. We have invested in him on a personal level because we feel he has invested in us in the same way. So tonight, Senator Barack Obama-president elect, we salute you. We believe in you and we thank you.
Congratulations to all of us for a significant and meaningful change!