Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pure Glee

Last night, I hunkered down for almost two hours straight and browsed YouTube for people celebrating on Election Night. It's not very hard. Just type in "Obama celebration" and any given major city or college campus and you'll find tons of videos of young Obama supporters romping about, immersed in pure glee, singing, dancing, howling, crying, chanting, honking their horns and leaning out car windows.

I can't think of any time in recent history that so many masses of people gathered in streets across the country to party. It was like we'd just won World War II all over again. It was crazier than New Year's Eve. When was the last time a presidential election sparked so much pure exuberance?

It gives me a lot of hope. I'm not talking about campaign-stamped-and-approved-of-hope, so much as hope that we are witnessing the end of one of my greatest pet-peeves. Political apathy.

I was a teenager during the '90s, and fell in love with politics in the middle of high school. I frequently went on political rants and was frustrated by the utter disinterest of many of my peers. That continued afterward, during and after college. But Bush continued stepping on things people cared about, and finally we've seen a fundamental change in how we as a people think.

Thanks largely to the ineptness of Bush, political discussion has transformed from an annoyance to the norm.

People care about and are talking about ideas again. That is the mark of a great period in history. Times of great ideas spark civil rights movements, revolutions and periods of progressive transformation. Renaissances. Those times are where the values that are worth fighting and bleeding for come from in the first place.

So, while we're riding this wave of glee, let me just say: Don't lose out on this chance to be a part of a world-wide conversation. It is here. It is here now. And it won't last forever.

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