November 4, 2008! Those were the first words of the acceptance speech of President Barack Obama. Never in my life had I felt such joy. One because I'm from Chicago and I was so proud my city was the place for this historic moment. Secondly, for obvious reasons, because I was watching the Victory Speech for the first African American President. Never in my lifetime did I imagine such a thing could or would ever happen. Many years later here I am celebrating another momentous Presidential election. Much of what I'm feeling now I felt that night in 2008 and I find it funny I am in London once again to watch it all happen.
November 4, 2008, I decided to walk around London and explore unknown territory. I ended up walking past a little pub that had a huge television screen so I decided to go in and take a seat to watch the historic moment. I've told this story before but I want to tell it again because it is a night that will forever be part of me. Much like tonight. So I walked in and took a seat at the bar and ordered a glass of wine. Immediately, because of my Chicago accent, which has become tamed over the years, the bartender asked if I was American. Well, Yes, I am! I said it with pride and reverence because I am so proud of America and being an American. Especially on that night with all the hope, the joy and the dreams it promised with electing President Barack Obama. "Well welcome," the bartender said." That made me feel better because I was on my own and wasn't sure what to expect.
The pub wasn't crowded but had a crowd of people from different parts of the world and we all began talking. A bit later some other Americans came in and somehow found out I was American and we all joined into a group conversation. They were a group of Americans that came over to work as social workers and since I was a sociology major we discussed a few things I found interesting. Then the speech began. The pub became very quiet as everyone hung onto each and every word from President Barack Obama. At the end, everyone was either in tears and/or rejoicing. All of us in the pub once again began talking to one another. That's when I realized we were several different people from different countries celebrating the same joy. The same victory. The same Dreams.
That night meant something to me because I've always believed in coming together with your fellow man regardless of continent or background. We all want the same things in life. To live and prosper. To feed and protect our families. But most importantly to live our best life and to be kind to one another. And for others to be kind to us and those we love.
So as I sit here in London once again on another historic night awaiting the next Victory Speech from our newly elected President Joseph Biden on November 7, 2020, I am once again filled with joy, hope and dreams. Even though we as a nation are very divided at the moment those dreams still exist in more than half of our nation. So I think that's the half in the next four years and hopefully, eight that will have to continue to lift our nation, our spirits and to continue to make our voices heard. Because frankly if a girl alone in a pub in London can find common joy amongst strangers shouldn't we be able to with our fellow countrymen?
P.S. It's lockdown in London so no pubs to go to but I call for a delayed celebration December 3rd!