I, great fan of the snooze button, did not need an alarm this morning. My polling place opened at 6 a.m. and I wanted to queue up before the doors opened. After I set out clothes and lunch for the boys and wrote a note for my husband, I set off with a bag packed with magazines, crossword puzzle books and my iPod. I didn't know how long I would have to wait and I wanted to be prepared for as many hours as it could take.
I was out the door at 5:44 and was at the Deer Village Club House three minutes later. I was 10th in line and felt a twinge of disappointment that I would have no long line-long wait story to tell. By 6:05 my task was done - not withstanding my podunk polling place's single voting machine and the four little old ladies running the show.
As I walked out of the building there was to be no anti-climax, no let down - as is often the case after a big build up. Instead, I felt a soaring exhilaration. It is a remarkable feeling to realize that (regardless of outcome) I have been a part of history; not an observer, but an active participant. One day - maybe as I help my sons do their history homework - I will be able to tell them that I had believed in Barack Obama. I will be able to to tell them how I voted for him and all I did so that others would too.
When I spoke to my cousin in Orlando this morning she was moved to tears by the significance of the day; so was my anglo girlfriend in Coconut Grove. I hear my school mate from high school has been an ardent Obama campaigner, traveling as a foot soldier around the country. Another Jamaican and prominent Miami lawyer has been part of the groundswell in Florida - rallying support and registering new voters in remarkable numbers - that may deliver the state for Obama.
My girlfriend in Jamaica tells me that the entire island has been glued to television sets literally willing Obama's victory. My alma mater will host a viewing party tonight. Sparrow and Coco Tea and other soca and reggae singers have recorded compositions in encouragement and salutation to Senator Obama. Other countries around the world are paying attention as the United States stands on the cusp of electing its first black president.
I have never experienced anything that has so excited, activated and unified so many people. Obama supporters cross racial, cultural, political and social lines to form an energized contingency that has put the change we need within reach. No matter what the final count is, Senator Barack Obama has blazed a trail that guarantees his place in American history. I am grateful for the assurance he provides for my sons' future. When I tell them they can be anything they want to be, it will be truer tomorrow than it is today.
That being said, I watch nervously while the pundits guess about the turnout and the final count. I have faith that change will come, but I am also too scared to imagine... So I wait.