Driving home from an election party last night, Amber and I came across a police barricade behind which 4,000 insanely happy Seattlites chanted, danced and shouted. Heading towards the throng, looking for a parking spot, we nearly hit a topless woman flagrantly disregarding the Don’t Walk sign. The event was incredible. Fueled by sheer joy (and plentiful beer), Capitol Hill spontaneously exploded into a celebratory frenzy, taking their isolated parties to the corner of Pike and Broadway to merge together into one chaotic expression of excitement and relief. Folks were climbing on street signs, leading people in cheers of “O-BAM-A, O-BAM-A!” American flags were being hung and waved everywhere. Smiles, high-fives and Miller Lites were shared freely. Someone hooked up a speaker on a nearby rooftop and the crowd participated in a singalong to the dance remix of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Hipsters loudly repeated “USA! USA! USA!” unironically. Fireworks blazed up into the sky, briefly drawing attention to the three helicopters monitoring the festivities from above. All this while the police stood guard, smirking and periodically getting asked to have their pictures taken with a reveler.
I’m so happy I was able to be part of that celebration, happy to live in a city whose priorities include active political participation and indulgence in the true meaning of the term “political party.” But more than that, I’m happy that last night America said no to the politics of fear, no to business as usual in the other Washington, and no to an ideology that is dangerous for both Americans and the rest of the world. I don’t anticipate things will get better immediately, but I’ve got this strange feeling – I think it’s called “hope”- that over the next few years, with a lot of work and effort from both the government and the citizenry, we can ensure America lives up to the principles set forth by its founders.
Yesterday was a good start. Let’s keep the party going.
(Poster courtesy of Christopher David Ryan. Get your own, printable version here)