The Morning After

Battered and exhausted after the brutal Mini II exam, I hibernated yesterday. I chuckled with my cousin on the phone for a bit and then, since Dominica is now one hour ahead of the east coast, I decided to turn in early instead of tuning in to CNN and waiting for the votes to come in. The last time I’d done that, the last time I cared so much about an election that I stayed awake into the wee hours of the morning, I’d gone to sleep thinking that the candidate I supported had triumphed, only to discover upon waking that things had gone awry. This time, I’m not going to wait on tenterhooks, I thought. I’m going to go to bed and see how it is when I get up. Plus, I had lab at 8:00 AM so I didn’t want to oversleep and miss it. So instead, I missed a little bit of history.

My anatomy TA was disappointed by the outcome of the election. A staunch conservative, he fears that our president-elect is too liberal. Another friend, who I just discovered is a registered Republican, thinks that with Democrats in power, government spending will run rampant. There was not much jubilation on campus; instead, quiet, personal celebration: Yes We Can! t-shirts, Obama buttons, shared grins. I can’t really understand how anyone could be anything but bursting with joy today.

I’m so used to being a cynic. I’m so used to defending the arrogant, antagonizing actions of my nation to people who consider American pride to be nothing more than brazen, boastful swagger. Over the course of this election, I started to think that maybe there are two Americas, the small-town, heartland, amber waves of grain part and the critical, analytical metropolitan part. But last night, and this morning, we connected. We came together and we did this.

So call me unpatriotic (but you better not to my face, ’cause I’m from Queens, and you know what that means…). This is the first time in my life that I’m proud of something America did.

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