President Barack Obama
Posted by lisagbrown on November 5, 2008
On my way to work on the morning after our country elected Barack Obama as President, the bus was eerily quiet. I sat among fellow commuters in silence. The usual cell phone conversations and loud chats about work, the tired early morning laughter and complaints about traffic were replaced by an abundant and all-encompassing quiet. The only sounds were the screech and roar of the bus, and the gentle whoosh of the cars around us.
And yet, to say that the mood on the bus was one of calm meditation would be to miss the invisible, mute energy that was all around us. It was palpable. It was fizzy and alive. It was energy that seemed to fuel the movement of the bus, and it bubbled just beneath the surface.
How fervently we all (myself included) clenched our teeth and pursed our lips, as if we suffered a collective fear that if we opened our mouths — even to sigh, to breathe, to cough, to sneeze — what would spill out would be a mantra of epic proportions: the united cry of a small group of commuters on a single bus in a neighborhood of Boston. Once begun, our cheers would be unstoppable, and would ring out along the streets as we passed the polling stations where we cast our votes, weaving through traffic as we ascended the highway, men and women hanging their bodies out of the open windows, announcing our celebration to fellow commuters.
I wondered: would I be the one? Would I be the person to inadvertently let my lips fly apart and begin the never-ending roar? The 30 other voices on the bus would inevitably join my own, and there would be no sputters, no starts and stops, just a single, sustained, unified voice, whizzing past cars and buildings, pedestrians and cyclists.
But finally, as the bus pulled up to its last stop, and we all got off to part ways and begin the work day, I realized that my dream of a united bus had come to an end.
But I took solace in knowing that what happened last night was not a dream. That every voter screen touched, every lever pulled, every dot colored with marker, was a cry of “Yes We Can.”
And that instead of powering a bus, one man had managed to fuel an entire nation with sheer determination, inspiration and belief.