Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election night in Harlem

Being an old hand at electoral politics, I knew Obama won at 9:23 pm EST when whatever channel I was watching called Ohio.

But, as my election night friend and I watched PBS at 11 p.m., which wasn't calling any states, just reporting what others called, we heard a spontaneous uprising of cheers and general celebrations out the window in Harlem. The entire community had spontaneously erupted in shouts of "Obama" and "Yes, We Did."

I walked home about 20 minutes later and now I am blogging to you about it. On the way home a large African-American gentleman in a leather jacket walked up to me and offered his hand and we exchanged the handshake familiar to African-Americans in these parts, an elaborate ritual that ends in a hug, and he said to me "This is not just for me, brother, it's for you, too."

I said, "Oh, don't I know it. I moved to New York to get away from George W. Bush."

Harlem erupts. Everyone was walking uptown from where I was, probably to the State Office Building at 125th and Seventh Ave where a campaign celebration was sponsored by Charlie Rangel, my newly-re-elected congressman, out in the courtyard in front of the building. It's probably quite a scene out there.

Now I know that my electoral college predictions were way shy of where they're going to end up. I didn't have Obama winning Ohio or Virginia, but I'm still confident in my popular vote predictions, which has always been my forte, anyway. If you don't count 2000, since we actually did win (3,000 aging Jews in Palm Beach County did not intend to vote for Pat Buchanan, even he admits that), I have called every Presidential election correctly since 1976.

But, I have never seen anything like I saw tonight in Harlem at 11pm. That was utterly remarkable.

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