Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Our election night party

Election day was exciting for all sorts of reasons. Margaret and I and our son Rob had all voted early. Another family member (who had been uncertain who to vote for) dreamt the night before that Obama was elected and woke up feeling happy. That evening, while Margaret was preparing for a family party, I took our daughter Julie to vote for the first time. I think I was more excited than she was.

In honor of Barack Obama, Margaret brought together food representing places he has lived or has significant connections with: she made pineapple upside down cake (in honor of Hawaii), Boston baked beans (to suggest the Harvard connection), picked up something close to deep dish pizza (for Chicago), and got naan--flat bread--from Bombay House because it's probably something like what they eat in Kenya. Kaila made and brought some Thai soup, which is almost sort of like something they might eat in Indonesia (maybe?). I guess we should have come up with something from Kansas too. And I really think something from Arizona would have been nice, in honor of John McCain. We had at least one McCain voter at the party.

By the time I left for devotional at the Missionary Training Center, Pennsylvania had been called for Obama, a major step toward winning. I enjoyed devotional and then went to the classroom area to greet the missionaries and other branch presidency members. But since the district I would normally have met with had left for the field that morning, President Robinson suggested that I could head for home if I wanted. I took him up on the suggestion. News I heard on the radio while driving indicated results were continuing to trend toward Obama. I reached home around 8:30, dug into the food again, and started coloring in one of the electoral maps Margaret had provided. By this time Margaret, Julie, Misha, Rob, Stephanie, and Kaila and Noah and kids (Gabby, Alex, and Oliver) were there.

It was becoming clear that Obama was going to win the electoral vote. By this time Ohio had gone for him too, and as I had announced earlier in the evening, Pennsylvania plus any one of several swing states--Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, or Florida--would probably clinch it for him. The TV stations declared it for Obama immediately after 9pm our time--just after the west coast states closed their polls. (For video of the moment, click here.) What the stations then showed were scenes around the country--even some around the world--with people reacting to Obama's victory with smiles, cheers, and tears. It was clear that we were witnessing history. And we had taken part in the making of that history.

We then listened to McCain's gracious concession speech in which--having to subdue the booing of the crowd when he mentioned Obama--he paid tribute to his opponent, offered his help and good wishes, and expressed his love for his country. I've often seen people show their best side in defeat. In this case, I believe McCain showed evidence of true greatness.

And then we listened to Obama's speech--serious, eloquent, moving, inspiring, generous, hopeful. We all felt grateful to live in a country where this kind of thing can happen. I'm sure people will begin wrangling again soon, but it felt--it still feels--as if there is a genuine possibility that Americans can work together with goodwill to solve problems. There is even hope on a global scale that we can recognize our kinship and interdependence and spend more time helping and learning from each other and less time fearing and destroying.

Photos from our party: (1) Top: Margaret, Misha, Bruce, Julie, Rob, Stephanie; (2) Middle row left: Rob; (3) Middle row middle: Stephanie and Julie; (4) Middle row right: Bruce; (5) Bottom row left: Gabby; (6) Bottom row middle: Gabby and Julie (and Barack); (7) Bottom row right: Stephanie and Rob. (For more photos see "Election party photos.")


dramatic sporano said...

Beautifully done! I hope you post pictures of your party.

Bruce Young said...

Thanks! I'll post pictures of our party once Julie gets them to me.

I couldn't find a convenient place to mention this in my narrative, but it was also nice to get phone calls from your brother (my brother-in-law) Jim and from your sister (my sister-in-law) Jen.

Lisa, though I'm sure disappointed, also sent a sweet note last night that I read this morning. I think we're all hopeful--but with some feelings of anxiety too. As Obama himself and quite a number of commentators have said, the problems won't solve themselves--we'll all need to pitch in and do our part.

Garry Wilmore said...

I left this same link with a comment posted to your other blog, but my own thoughts on the outcome of this election may be found here.

Glad you and your guests had such a nice party, and that you observed this important historical event in a way that was both enjoyable and memorable for one and all.

jaybs said...

It is so good to share in the details of your election night party.

Here in the UK our coverage commenced at 11.20pm, so I tried to grab an hours sleep first. I then managed until 5.40am, as you say Bruce, Barack's speech was so eloquent and gracious.

It is was also that John McCain was also gracious, just unfortunate that some of his supporters could not have been the same way, but that is now in the past. We need to look forward CHANGE has come.

I slept for just over an hour before getting up just before 7am and I was a little fragile throughout yesterday. I wore my black Obama 08 polo shirt with pride.

Now both of Barack Obama's books that I was able to get signed when first released are valuable, someone was selling one here in the UK for £950. The journey with Barack since 2001 has been so exciting!

Henry Parents said...

Hi Bruce,

I didn't realize that you and Maggie were Obama fans. I am still glowing about our president-elect, Mr. Obama. I had the chance to speak with a 93 year old woman this weekend who literally lit up the room with her enthusiasm for Obama. Even Henry, at the mere age of two, recognized him early on and has continued to be fascinated by him. He has such a wonderful energy that comes full circle, inspiring both young and old.

Josh and I took Henry to see him speak in Indy in October, on my birthday in fact. I knew at that point that I was watching the man would become our next president. He that presence to him.

As a mother, this election has brought on an unexpected sense of importance to me. I'm not just voting for myself anymore, but also for Henry. And perhaps that is why I am even more elated by his nomination. Election night felt like New Year's Eve, a new era, indeed.

Sorry for the long comment, I don't get a lot of opportunities to be excited about Obama with my family (and I do love them, but they are quite, quite red), and since the Youngs have always been like a second family to me, I thought I'd post on your blog to celebrate.

I am happy to say that Indiana went blue - the last time that happened was LBJ! So the election was particularly exciting for us.

Yes we can and yes we did!



Bruce Young said...

So cool to hear from Adrea!!!
We were waiting on Indiana for a long time, but YES!!! A significant victory!

MJBY said...

Actually, that last comment was from Margaret.

Bruce Young said...

Adrea--how good to hear from you! First of all, you have my permission to add comments of ANY length on my blogs. You are and always will be very special to us.

Second, I am so jealous of you for having gotten to see Barack in person. But at least I've gotten e-mails from him and Michelle. (Of course, these were e-mails sent to a couple of other million people as well.)

If you want to see more of my Obama enthusiasm, look at or

You may want to talk politics with Kaila as well--she has an interesting story or two to tell. I assume you know she's moving to Indiana.

mjby said...

Check out Colbert and Stewart:

dw said...

Very pleased about BARACK in Chicago...

Good to read of your family celebration! I also enjoyed meeting Julia a great deal. I wonder what she thought of meeting me...I bet she laughed all the way to De Paul.

Bruce Young said...

Hi, dw (aka David). I looked at your profile and saw pictures of your granddaughters--beautiful!

I don't remember exactly what Julie said about meeting you, but the impression, the feeling, I have about the encounter based on her report to me is that it was pleasant; it mattered to her that I cared enough to arrange to have you be there; and she could see how you and I have some affinities. (That last item might be the only thing that would count against you.)

Bruce Young said...

I should post Obama's complete victory speech somewhere, but for now I'm going to give a snippet along with a link to the whole thing.

The snippet:

Barack Obama, November 4, 2008:

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.


Julie Young said...

I don't think you have enough pictures with me in them. Ha.. joke!

Barack Obama ROCKS. Also, I was not laughing after meeting your friend Dave, I enjoyed meeting him.

And you realize your last blog post was November 5th? Better get on this, dad.

Keith Lionel Brown said...

Thank you for sharing your family's Barack Obama election night party highlights with. It sounds like a fun and exiting time was had by all.

I have posted my some of my personal feelings and comments concerning this great victory on my blog here. On election night I was glued to my monitor as I watched the results roll in. Oh, what joy I felt when the annoucement had come across the screen that Barck Obama had won the election. What I also found impressive about this is that he not only won the electorial vote, but the popular vote as well. Truly this is a great day in history.

I also applaud Senator John McCain whom I thought was very gracious and humble when he gave his concession speech. What I really admired about him at that point was how he hushed the crowd from booing Barcak Obama and how he blamed himself, not everyone else, for the defeat. That is a sign of true character in my book.

My main concern is that everyone will realize that President Obama cannot bring about change alone. It will take the uniting of many and not just the efforts of one for change to truly be realized.

Bruce Young said...

Now, over a year later, it's obvious that my prediction about wrangling beginning again was quite accurate. What a disappointment to find so much lack of respect and generosity--so much of what simply has to be called hatred--over the past year and a half or more. I know of people who, even while they were listening to our new president's inaugural address, were posting one cavil and criticism after another. And of course there were those who famously "hoped Obama would fail"--and even some (believe it or not) who were praying for his death. I believe the American people have squandered a historic opportunity for cooperation and goodwill.

As for what Americans should have done in the opening months of a new presidency, I'll have more to say elsewhere. But in a nutshell, I'm not talking about agreeing with all of the president's initiatives but about giving him a chance--and extending a measure of respect and goodwill, something I believe every new president should be given.