It's 2:30 AM. Obama is the President of the United States. (Pretty much.)
who was that masked man?
In the streets of New York, crowds are still cheering, shouting "Yes, we can!" Cars honk their horns. People bang pots and pans. They cannot stop. Don't want to stop. When the announcement came over the television that he had been elected, cheers erupted from the streets. A crowd gathered on 8th Street and 1st Avenue, taking over the intersection. Police pushed them back here and there, but otherwise left the celebration alone.
People in cars stopped and the crowd rushed to shake their hands and kiss them through open windows.
Garbage men riding the backs of honking trucks waved and pumped their fists.
City bus drivers honked and slowed down so passengers could stick their hands from the windows and high-five the people on the street.
At Union Square, the park was packed. People climbed lamp posts and hoisted flags atop. We sang God Bless America. We chanted "U-S-A" and "Yes, We Can" and "O-Ba-Ma!" Strangers hugged and kissed strangers.
The celebration went on and on, a wave that rose and fell, then rose again, for hours and hours. Down side streets and avenues, in pockets of jubilant people.
After joining them for hours of that jubilation, I'm putting in my earplugs and going to bed. Click here for pics from my election night travels from 8th Street and 1st Avenue to Union Square.
Earlier tonight, this stranger in an Obama Halloween mask appeared in the crowd at Union Square and people fell upon him with adoration. As if he were the real thing. Acting the part, uninhibited behind that face, the stranger opened his arms and enveloped us.
He took me into his arms and we embraced. His hug was strong. Caught up in the mass delusion, the pleasant folie a plusieurs that this stranger had brought into our midst, I felt like I was being embraced by my new president, a man who could see me, who would include me in his vision for the country.
And it was good.