I voted for Barack Obama yesterday, but without the enthusiasm so many other people did. When I went to the polls yesterday, I considered not voting for president because I just didn’t care enough about either candidate.
After Obama gave his acceptance speech last night, a friend and I walked down to State Street (a main drag between campus and the capitol in Madison). As we sat in at Paul’s Bar having a drink, an impromptu march of thousands of students went by outside. They were chanting, carrying American flags and Obama signs, singing, just exuding this joy I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a mass of college students.
The Wisconsin State Journal got some great pictures of the event that you can see here. A local Madison blogger also got some video that you can watch here. The photo at the top of this post is one of the best images from the evening I’ve been able to find.
As I was walking State Street last night, standing on the sidelines of this massive and inspiring celebration, a quote from Susan Orlean kept going through my head:
I have a kind of missionary zeal to tell my readers that the world is a more complex place than they ever thought, to make them curious about things they’d never ordinarily be curious about… I’m very curious about people’s personal attachments. I don’t really care what they’re attached to. As I write in The Orchid Thief, “I suppose I do have one unembarassing passion. I want to know what it feels like to care about something passionately.”
I’ve always felt like my emotions are pretty even-keeled, but I share Orlean’s curiosity about others. But last night I didn’t want to be a curious outsider. I wanted to feel that momentum, that passion, that excitement for politics and America that I could feel from those students. I’m excited to see if this enthusiasm can hold.