It's Election Day! My friends in DC are going back to the bar we went to four years ago for this very evening. DC is electric on nights like this. I wrote a reflection in 2008 the day after the election, so that I could always look back and remember how amazing the night was. I only lived in DC for two years, but stories like this make those two years worth it. I'm living in Wisconsin currently and wishing more than anything that I didn't have class tonight and could be in DC for the evening.
For my five things today, I want to share that reflection. Enjoy!
Election Night 2008
I didn't want to stay home for election night. I live in Washington DC and I wanted to feel the spirit of the city on that night in particular. So I began the search for where to go, because deciding not to stay home is only halfway to having a great night. I typed "DC Democrat bar" into Google. I didn't get great results so I tried "Obama results election night." This search query returned a blog that listed about 10 places that were having Obama parties for election night. My eyes fell upon Bohemian Caverns with great excitement. I had been wanting to go there for awhile having driven past numerous times to and from my bosses house.
It was five dollars to get in, which is normally a deal breaker for me. I'm kind of cheap and prefer not to pay cover. I decided this was a night worth paying for. Then I had to convince my friends that the night was worth not only paying for but going all the way across town for. We live on Capitol Hill and one of my friends really wanted to stay home and watch the results come in. I decided I had conceded to too many nights in places that I didn't necessarily want to be...we were going to the club that I wanted to go to for this night. I wasn't conceding this night...that was for McCain to do.
And so it came to be that this white, twenty-something, college-educated woman was at Bohemian Caverns on U St NW on election night. When we first arrived at 6:30 the main floor - the only floor with food service and televisions - was packed and the rest of the place still had plenty of elbow room. I was with two hungry boys at this point as my girlfriend and her boyfriend were still on their way from the Hill. We had our hands stamped and headed off to the infamous Ben's Chili Bowl for dinner.
About an hour later, the five of us headed back to Bohemian Caverns. There was a line by that time and since only three of the five of us had already paid our cover we waited in line. We made our way up to the second floor with CNN projected onto the wall next to the jumping balloon. As the drinks and the results started flowing in, the party started. I'm pretty sure the last time I screamed that hard was at a sporting event! With every CNN projection for Obama I got louder and jumped further off the ground. I was thrilled to see Virginia go to Obama and elated to see Ohio go to Obama as well.
After more than three hours of screaming and jumping - in and out of the jumping balloon - the election was called for Obama. The response of the crowd was more excited than New Years. There was hugging, high-fiving and high-pitched screaming. And the crowds began to leave the bars and crowd the streets. U St became impassable by car within 30 minutes. It was an amazing scene. I watched from the second-story window of Bohemian Caverns. We were waiting for McCain's concession speech and Obama's acceptance speech before we hit the streets.
I began the evening adorned in a blue and gray striped dress, my gold chain, red winter coat and red Guess bag. As we hit the streets the night's accumulations amounted to a white plastic hat with an American flag band on my head, gold curly streamers that my friend taped onto the top of the hat, a chain of blue beads around my neck, and a red, white and blue streamer wrapped around my neck like a skinny scarf. I looked like the 4th of July - Uncle Sam as one friend observed - as we walked into the street into a crowd of people and cars. It was the happiest traffic jam I'd ever seen.
People randomly came up to me asking to take their picture with me...I'm not sure if it was in homage to my very apparent patriotism or a nod to my lacking sanity. Either way it was an amazing night. My friend said that he wished he'd had a camera to take a picture of the scene in the street. I said, 'I don't need a camera to remember what I'm seeing here tonight!' At the end of the night there were only three words that came close to encapsulating the feelings, energy and scene of the night: Yes We DID!!!