The last time someone told me that I was watching history was when two airliners crashed into a skyscraper and we watched it collapse on television.
But last night is a different kind of history. It’s the kind of history you want to tell your children and your grandchildren, the kind of history that makes you say, “You remember how it used to me?” and shake your head a little, it’s the kind of history that makes you really happy you were alive when it happened.
Although I’m only twenty-three years old, I feel like I have lived a lot of history. I feel like the past eight years or so are going to be the kind of thing analyzed in high schools around the country for years to come, much like our debates about whether or not it was a good idea to drop the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most of the history that I can remember isn’t anything I’m really proud of. A war. A Presidential sex scandal. An attack on American soil. Another war. An election crisis. An economic meltdown.
And now this.
The election of the first non-white President. It’s historic for America. It’s not historic for the rest of the world (I mean, hello, Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa in 1994 after he was imprisoned by the country for twenty-seven years).
I know there are many reasons why people are happy that Obama won. I know there are many reasons why people are unhappy. But my reasons don’t have as much to do with the war, or the economy, or education, or infrastructure or women’s health or any of that. The reason why I’m happy is because for the first time in my life I actually believe that I will soon be part of a history that I’m proud to be alive for. A history I want to experience. Not one that I will someday look back on and think, “How could they let that happen?”
History is something you can only judge in hindsight, and I realize this. But there is something glorious in the anticipation of great history.
I’m looking outside my bedroom window at an Empire State Building glowing blue. And I’ve never seen a more beautiful color.