Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Age of Obama

The age of Obama is upon us. Last Tuesday night, as we all know by now, Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama buried Republican John McCain to become the first black President. He even won North Carolina, a state that hadn’t gone blue since the Civil Rights Era.

Not bad for a half Kenyan Democrat with a Muslim name and little experience.

I spent election night at NYU’s Journalism building on Cooper Square where almost everyone was hard at work filing stories. Everyone but me.

I had been up since 6 a.m. and had already filed my two pieces; an article on Cuban voters in New Jersey, and a day-of story on the hearings at the Board of Elections in Elizabeth, NJ.

I gotta say, I wasn’t quite happy with how either article turned out. But I learned a lot from them. I became much more comfortable approaching people, and I learned that it’s never too early to call people. Learning, although rewarding, sure is frustrating.

After the election was called I walked by Union Square on my way home. It was around midnight and the square was packed with Obama supporters drunk on victory. It was electric. People danced. People sang. People hugged strangers. The crowd was so big it poured into the street, blocking traffic. Cars were honking- some to get by, other to show their Obama support- and the crowd grew even more riled up with each passing honk.

Two cops stood on the South side of 14th Street looking on. They pair didn’t look too worried; these were Greenwich Village people, after all. They were content to let the College students, Yuppies, and Hipsters celebrate.

Now comes the real work. Obama’s going to face more challenges than any other President in recent memory. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The war in Iraq. The war in Afghanistan. Iran. Al Qaeda and its supporters. Energy Policy. Health care. And that’s just what we know of. Let’s see what the next four years brings. At least it’ll be an interesting time to be a journalist.

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