Energy runs high as Obama wins

2012-11-07 12:51

Election night in the US was one for the books, and Nadia Neophytou was there.

For the thousands of supporters who’d come decked out in their finest – and flashiest – Obama gear, it was definitely a night for the books.

When US President Barack Obama took to the stage of McCormick Place in his hometown Chicago, there were ear-deafening cheers.

It was a culmination of the cheers that started when projections on the giant screens first started to indicate he would win this election. And they were the same cheers that continued until after he’d finished his victory speech, promising the “best is yet to come”.

McCormick Place, where the “Obama for America” election night event was held, is a massive convention centre that began pulsating with energy as soon as the supporters started streaming inside on election night.

Some had been quiet as they entered the hall, walking with a steely determination to take their place in the front of the stage where Obama would speak; others were a lot more willing to talk readily, and without hesitation, about their excitement for the night ahead and the hope it could possibly bring.

And by the end of the night, many of these supporters sounded almost as hoarse as Obama himself had started to sound towards the very end of his campaigning. They’d been shouting and cheering, whistling and chanting for more than four hours.

But in the end, it was worth it for them, just as it had been for the incumbent.

Thousands of Obama supporters and Democrats, who had come dressed in T-shirts with slogans on them, both hand-made and bought, in hats decorated with tiny American flags and the Democratic colours, and wearing pins, buttons and lapels with statements like “This Seat is Taken”, or “Women for Obama” were smiling and hugging each other. Flags were waving furiously.

And they didn’t stop until Obama appeared about two hours later, with a victory speech that would cement the next phase of his presidency.

His voice heightened as he spoke, thanking his running mate and Vice President Joe Biden, his wife and the people who had actively campaigned for him, many of them in the hall, who roared in gratitude for the shout-out.

Said Geoffrey Silver from Chicago, who was in Grant Park four years ago when Obama was first elected: “I like that he spoke of how we still have a lot of work to do. He conceded where he was at and where he still has to go, and that stuck with me.

“I like how he tried to get away from the divisiveness and I really hope we can.”

For another supporter, who’d also been at Grant Park four years ago and worked on the grassroots level of the campaign, last night was “an exclamation point that: yes, we can go forward – blacks and whites, gays and straights, Republicans and Democrats”.

Many left McCormick Place with the determined hope that the president has the ability to heal this country.

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