My mood in 2008 was high adrenaline pure elation. My energy measured in dollars was $2,500 that I helped raise for the Obama campaign for Hope and Change plus another $200 I kicked in of my own donations, a yard sign and an Obama '08 bumper sticker that I still have fixed to the back of my 2000 Toyota truck before Biden had been added to the ticket.
That year I started the online fundraiser "White Dudes For Obama" which caught on especially amidst all the concern trolling over white working class voters. I was even interviewed and videotaped by a video journalist from the Charlotte Observer (I sucked on camera and the video never made it online). I was pumped!
In 2004, I had watched Barack Obama for the first time give his keynote speech for John Kerry. I remember when sitting around the Thanksgiving table that year, I swore to my Republican Fox News addict father that Obama would be the next President of the United States. I think he nearly choked on his stuffing and mashed potatoes. Obama helped heal my depression and immense fear after Kerry's loss. I felt indebted to him.
By the time 2007 rolled around I was determined to meet the future President. A good friend informed me he would be speaking in Atlanta and that he knew a girl from his college days who worked for the campaign in events planning. I seized the opportunity figuring I'd never get close to the man ever again so we drove 3-4 hours from Charlotte to Atlanta.
We were led into a banquet room big enough for maybe 2,000 tops along with members of the media. My friend's friend positioned us up against the rail where she had learned Obama would be exiting. I did get to shake his hand. It was warm and sweaty. He was tired and annoyed from having to sit through a bogus Senate hearing on a MoveOn.org "General Betray Us" banner ad.
Otherwise the energy he projected was almost supernatural and like nothing I've ever felt. I left confident he would win Iowa despite what polls were saying about Hilary and regardless of how the media had marginalized him up to that point.
I went to see him again in downtown Charlotte in 2008 after he had secured the nomination and we didn't get nearly as close. I went with a close friend of mine who is a transplant from PA. On the night of the election, she threw a smashing party. We had a clubhouse reserved with a mini-movie theater plush with official movie seats and a giant movie screen. We drank heavily and I played two victory CD's I had burned for the occasion with songs like James Brown's "Living in America" and Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A". We celebrated and played them over and over again all night and yes we shagged for the night cap with wine-stained mouths. She later took me to the Inauguration in D.C. It was the perfect end to the election for me.
Tomorrow night will be special in its own way and I anxiously await it. The polling is finally over. My TV is off. I don't visit Facebook enough to know how excitable my friends are right now. I'm not stressed about talks of "tie tie tie" and certainly I'm not worried about a Gore type stolen election. I feel the gap is too large in polling and early voting results. Fraud on such a massive scale would be too easy to detect with thousands of lawyers on the ground and braintrust in back rooms that we aren't privy to. I am an unapologetic optimist by nature (with a brutal realist mean streak when I really get pissed off).
I have President Obama winning 347 EV's. I predict he will sweep all the swing states. 332 is my bottom. I don't hear the chorus of cynics. All I hear is ...
Listen to this song one last time. Replay it if you have to. Share it to your Facebook if you must. But don't let the stress and negativity or anger eat at you these few precious remaining moments. President Obama is the best campaigner in the history of Presidential politics. It's been amazing to witness it all unfold. Let's ride this one last wave.