A collective sigh of relief rose from blue-leaning Seattleites in crowded living rooms, pubs, street corners and coffee shops last night when, around 8 p.m. PST, newscasters everywhere announced Barack Obama's decisive victory. Those sighs soon turned to cheers and tears of joy.
After watching Obama address the crowd in Chicago's Grant Park, my friend and I left Neumos and were greeted with a truly awesome sight: Hundreds of people were pouring out of the local establishments and onto the streets of Capitol Hill.
The rejoicing crowd exchanged hugs, kisses and high-fives. Fireworks exploded, champagne corks popped and cheers reverberated: "Yes, We Can," "O-ba-ma!" and even "USA! USA!" (A year ago, who could have imagine that last one originating from under-fortysomethings in the Emerald City?)
And it just kept going! For more than five hours, people waved flags, sang patriotic songs, and danced with loved ones and strangers alike. A drag queen atop Neighbours led the crowd in a sing-along of The Star Spangled Banner.
As I lifted my brown-bagged Andre Spumante for a group cheer, I thought, It's an unbelievable feeling to be proud of my country again, and to be joined by so many people of various backgrounds, and of all ages, from around the country and around the world.
Last night's huge party was a signal of something much, much bigger. If the wave of grassroots support that carried Obama to the White House continues to grow and to stay as active and passionate as their actions on election night suggest, then I believe we truly will have the power to call for a transformed America in the years to come.
The following are photos from the center of the crowd on Pike and Broadway, interspersed with some that fellow Worldchanger Julia Levitt snapped at a similarly spontaneous celebration in front of Pike Place Market:
The Stars and Stripes waving proudly overhead on a crowded Pike Street.
A smiling daughter sits on strong shoulders.
The corner of Pike and Broadway facing west.
Hipster fist bump