Short write-ups from Hatchet staffers and opinions writers about their experiences and thoughts from election night 2008:
The Last Speech
I did not expect to be moved by John McCain, the old war horse who had never moved my cynic’s soul with his rhetoric.
But election night, I was moved, moved by the stoicism of a man who has fought the good fight so many times and showed us all watching what it means to surrender with grace.
In that moment, he became just a man again. Devoid of all the trappings hung upon him by a campaign that should have done better by an American hero, he was just a man, and I remembered why I have always liked him so much.
Claire Autruong, opinions editor
Not Time to Rest Yet
Euphoria is one of the many words that will be used to describe the night, but after losing my voice and hearing, a sense of uneasiness overtook me.
I wondered if the party outside the White House was just today’s party and that the students who seem so impassioned would just move on to the next one tomorrow.
I do not think Barack Obama will find a minute for complacency, but as my eardrums shook I hoped my generation, the one that has put Obama in the White House, will not either.
Matt Grifferty, opinions writer
A Celebration for the Ages
With mounting tensions that weren’t helped by the graphics-happy CNN crew, the GW College Democrats prepared to hold on for dear life. And so we did. Screaming filled the air with every win and streamers were tossed haphazardly. When Obama won Ohio, the walls reverberated with our yells. Our voices cracked for Virginia. As the final announcement played across the screen, the floor shook.
As I stood there amongst my peers, I knew that history had just been made. And that there was no place that I would rather be.
Samantha Villella, opinions writer
Finally Time for Obama Fans
The sheer jubilation on the faces of everyone in the crowd amazed me. Those who weren’t screaming and cheering were crying tears of joy. As I massage my shoulders, sore from giving piggyback rides for two hours, I can’t think of a time or place where I had ever seen such pure emotion.
Phillies fans were happy last week, Bush fans were happy four years ago, but on this night, Obama fans showed the passion only induced by the knowledge that change has come.
Lucas Hagerty, opinions writer
A Black President
Perhaps with a bit of irony, Obama’s success and legitimacy largely depended upon his ability to separate himself from race. As opposed to previous runs for office by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Obama did not use his racial identity as political clout.
Although he is no more than a politician, he is my president – and my president is black.
Chris Merino, opinions writer
A New Wave
Now, hung over and wiped out and finally victorious, America looks toward the future: a future where America will no longer be a joke on the national stage, where Microsoft Word spell check will recognize “Obama” and where we as a society will have burst forward into the future. That was no more apparent as the waves of people cleaned out the mess that has inhabited the White House the last eight years.
Evan Schwartz, opinions writer
An Explosive Atmosphere
As I left the Marvin Center for the White House it seemed all of D.C. had the same idea. People were sprinting through the streets, high-fiving car passengers and chanting. At the White House, thousands cheered with American flags waving high and hoarse voices still chanting, “Yes we did.” The crowd danced, kissed, cried, hugged and cheered as the rain seemed to cleanse eight years of anger and disenchantment. Finally it felt we were writing history, not simply watching it.
Justin Guiffre, opinions columnist
I grew up in an area that is roughly 98 percent white. The white Italians are known to dislike the white Irish, so you can just imagine how they feel about blacks. Last night, Obama won that part of the country.
While encouraging, we have had an unsettling history of racism and any who imagine that last night means it’s over is na’ve in the worst of ways. Still, it speaks to something deep and mysterious about the very nature of our country that we have accomplished this. Feel proud.
Rob Griffin, opinions writer
A Defining Moment
As the polls where closing, everyone in the Marvin Center Continental Ballroom had their eyes glued on the screen to see the results. Even though I was curious to find out who our new president would be, I kept my gaze on the crowd of students and let their jubilant explosion clue me in. Seeing that much energy packed into one room is a powerful and emotional experience and will be one of those defining college moments we all relive at our 20-year reunion.
Diana Kugel, contributing editor
A Part of History
From an Obama supporter, I was instructed about how the U.S. finally has a president that plays basketball, listens to good music and has smoked pot: a generational triumph. “The world wants this,” he said.
From a McCain supporter, I was repeatedly lectured on the “diplomatic coup” of the evening: thousands of American flags waving for our first African-American president. “I want to see this on Al-Jazeera and Le Monde tomorrow,” he said.
Ross Griffith, opinions writer