Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jubilation

Chants and outbursts of jubilation define the crowds that surged into
the streets of Washington and flowed to Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the
White House after it was announced that Barack Obama, the long-shot candidate
and senator from Illinois, had been elected America's 44th president.


Last night, history was made in the United States of America. For the first time, a black man has been elected to the highest office in the land. More than 100 117.7 million Americans voted. Of those who voted, 52%, or 52.7 62.4 million, cast their ballots for Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. Senator Obama garnered 338 349 electoral votes, surpassing the 270 needed, and was declared the 44th President of the United States.

Celebrating with the crowd in front of the White House

A large portion of the country burst into spontaneous celebration. Down on Pennsylvania Avenue, in front of the White House, a crowd of thousands gathered to chant "Yes We Can!" and "Yes We Did!" and "Obama! Obama!" Most of them appeared to be students from nearby George Washington and Georgetown Universities, but there were also many who seemed to be coming from the city's neighborhoods and the suburbs of Virginia and Maryland to be a part of history. Up on U and 14th Streets NW--Washington's historic Black Broadway--crowds of people poured out of their homes, restaurants, and bars and began celebrating.

While I was down at the White House tonight, three complete strangers--all African American--hugged me and others. This is a monumental day for them and an opportunity for change for all of us. The pictures I took aren't the greatest. I was being jostled by the crowd at times and didn't want to block the way at other times. But I hope they give you a sense for the moment. Similar celebrations were taking place from coast-to-coast.

About a mile from the White House,
a few people quietly gathered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

America has spoken and the way is clear. It won't be easy, but if we work together so much is possible. Last night was a night for all Americans to be proud!

*****

Kendra and Jake, new D.C. residents who moved here from Montana,
join in the celebration in front of the White House.

Continuing my 100 Strangers series, this is a picture of Kendra and Jake. They just moved here from Montana to work for a couple of non-profits here in town. They were soaking up the enthusiasm in front of the White House and were excited to learn that as of 12:30 a.m. EST their state was tilting toward Obama. As I type this at 2:50 a.m. EST, Obama and McCain are tied for Montana. Update 8:25 a.m. EST: McCain carried Montana, but while 50% of Big Sky voters cast their ballots for him 46% went for Obama. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 11/05/08

Posted at 3:30 a.m. EST. Updated to reflect new polling results at 7:30 a.m. EST.

17 comments:

pierre l said...

Good for you madam! I am sure there is relief and great pleasure in the UK as well.

USelaine said...

These are wonderful, wonderful candid shots of an historic night. There really is something Lincolnesque about Obama.

nathalie said...

FANTASTIC POST, so glad you showed this, it gave us the impression we were there with you.

I'm so happy about Obama's election. I think this is a day for the world to rejoice.

Sally said...

How fantastic to be there in Pennsylvania Avenue! What excitment and history. Much more immediate than the CNN shots I saw today.

You guys did it - congratulations.

A gracious concession speech, a moving and inspirational victory speech and a lot of joy. I had tears.
Sydney Daily Photo

Jilly said...

Love your photographs of the moment, this great moment in American history. How wonderful you were there. Change is about to come, change for America and change for the world. Thankyou America!

The Artful Eye said...

Power to the people! Change is in the air and I believe we can collectively make the change we seek. What a relief! I feel like I've been holding my breath for weeks. It was such an exciting day yesterday and I haven't stopped wiping the tears of joy from my eyes.

Now I'm praying that "NO" on Prop8 vote wins here in CA, still not decided. These people here are crazy.

Equal rights for all.

Virginia said...

Wow, we get our money's worth here today. Great shots and as always you find just the right words!!!

Bernie said...

I knew when I got on your site this morning that I'd see pictures of the crowds at the White House. Great photos and commentary, as always.

D.C. Confidential said...

Pierre: Thank you! I think America's days of isolationism are on their way out. This election was as important to those of you around the world as it was to us.


USElaine: Thanks! There is something very Lincolnesque about President-elect Obama. I believe he will govern with a similar calmness and wisdom that Lincoln exhibited. And I think I'm not far afield in saying President Lincoln would probably be very happy with the election of Mr. Obama.


Nathalie: I hope you felt some of the energy I and my fellow citizens experienced last night. Most of us are still pinching ourselves!


Sally: I think many of us were experiencing similar emotions--tears of joy and astonishment.


Jilly: You're welcome! I just hope we don't screw it up for ourselves and for the world.


Andrea: I think a lot of us are feeling similarly! It was a great day and hopefully the greatness will continue. As for Prop 8, don't get me start. Grrrrrr.


VJ: Thanks! It was such a momentous occasion!


Bernie: I almost didn't go down because it was so late and I was worried about gridlock, but then I decided "Screw it! This is history!" It was worth the late hours and my tiredness today to share and capture that moment.

Eric Salsbery said...

Being in Utah the atmosphere was rather subdued. Although I did see that in downtown the Democratic Party headquarters became a party.

I did not make it downtown but was celebrating quietly at a friends house.

I was moved by the scene of Rev. Jesse Jackson in tears last night.
I was moved by President Elect Obama's speech, I was moved by the entire experience.
I woke up this morning and checked online to see if i was dreaming.

Like I said earlier on another blog... I feel all giddy today.
It was a very special night, and I am very proud to have witnessed it all.

I am still just a bit giddy...

:-)

D.C. Confidential said...

Eric: I can imagine things were a little on the quiet side in the Beehive State! Having said that, though, 35% of Utahns voted for Obama. That's more than voted for Kerry, Gore, or Clinton! As Salt Lake County becomes more diverse and grows in population, I think you'll see that number tick up. I don't think Utah will ever tilt fully blue, but it might become pink rather than raging red.

As for feeling giddy, many of us do. I keep pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming and I know several other friends who are still so astonished by this historic and positive outcome. It is indeed momentous!

marley said...

Another fantastic post. We CDP bloggers are lucky to have our roving reporter, D.C Confidential, there to relay the atmosphere of this historic night. Thank you. And 'Yay' for all of us!

babooshka said...

Excellent journalistic post and images. Blogging really has been an eye opener. I am so happy for you guys over there, and for us too. I love this guy. If he get to the Whitehouse the kids get puppies. He's my man.

D.C. Confidential said...

Marley: It is an honor and privilege for me to share moments like this with so many of you. And may I say thank you to those of you globally who share with us a hope for a world filled with healing, peace, and prosperity for everyone.


Babooshka: Kids and puppies are always a winner! As for blogging, it's amazing the way it is opening up the world to so many of us. I hope it proves to change the world and contributes to breaking stereotypes, ending prejudices, and being a part of understanding and peace among peoples and nations!

Maya said...

Awesome experience! I too went out to be with the crowds in Seattle. It was such a great celebratory feeling and historical event. I'm glad I went out.

I spoke with two strangers and posted them on my blog too. Two down (if I were actually doing this exercise)!

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: I saw your pics. They were, indeed, very, very cool! What a great night. I'm so glad I decided to forego sleep in favor of celebration. Now if only I'd thought to buy a newspaper on Wednesday morning! Damn!

pierre l said...

If you send me your address in a private e-mail, I could send you a British newspaper. There are a lot of Obama articles in the papers here as well.