November 6th, 9:45pm
Yoga typically isn't where I spend Election Night. Having been involved with politics in some capacity for most of my adult life, on Election Night I'm usually either doing GOTV (calling voters and knocking on doors) or glued to the tube, waiting for election results.
But on Election Night 2012, I did something a little different. I did my volunteer GOTV work leading up the campaign, and now just wanted to relax and see what happened. I took a kundalini yoga class, and executed moves I wasn't able to do before. I felt particularly strong and centered. While in the blissful torpor of an endocrine-induced haze, I had flashbacks to the last four elections prior to this one, and in the process realized a few things about the nature of ascent:
Election Night 2004: I'm just out of college. I'm volunteering at the Kerry headquarters in Alhambra, in LA County. I'm very passionate about delivering the Kerry talking points, but what really stood out to me were the Wahoo's fish tacos around the corner.
Election Night 2006: I was in a ballroom in the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. (Movin' up! From the Eastside to Downtown!) There was some DNC party there, and Hilda Solis gleefully announced, "Nancy Pelosi is now the speaker of the House!"
I thought, "Oh cool, there's a female Speaker." Then I blinked. I didn't think much else; I was 23.
Election Night 2008: I was on a bar on U Street in Washington, DC. I had two friends visiting from California, and we stopped into a bar to watch the results with what I thought was good anticipation. The announcement came quickly and we, like Barack, were caught off guard. Michelle held him together on stage, and we held tightly to the railing off the bar's balcony as I watched U Street flood with cheering people.
"He won!!!!" everyone was screaming. Surprise - the underdog won. Surprise, history happened to be made. Another surprise - our friend, the dope transgender performance artist D'Lo, happened to also be visiting from LA, and was cheering on top of a newspaper stand at the corner of 14th and U. It was like that scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy's friends and family pass by her house; but this was more wizard of Wonder, with 41 degree weather.
Election Night 2010: All efforts were made to generate the least amount of political surprise possible, and those efforts fell on their face. At the time, I worked at a civic engagement organization trying to turn out the young vote, and young voters nationwide just couldn't motivate for mid-terms. I canvassed Philadelphia, along with other lefties who made the trek from DC. The day was cold, and pretty bleak: on the way back, we got the news that the Dems had lost the House. To boot, some macabre weirdos wanted to watch the City of God on the bus ride back. As the film's bullet noises blinked off the bus windows, I curled up in my seat and decided that the best thing to do was just to go to sleep.
Election Night 2012: At the risk of calling a box a square, it seems that O might just win tonight. I have emerged from an intentional physical practice to laud what was one hell of an intentional campaign, despite everyone's very best bullshitting. An Obama win would be another win against all odds; although it might be a bit of a surprise, it sure wouldn't be an accident.
While on that yoga mat, I thought of me and my Dad's recent tour of the White House with my friend, who works for the administration. The White House felt so cozy and welcoming, even at 9pm at night. There was a pumpkin carved with the presidential seal on it. The Obama White House felt like a home - and I was there with my father, nonetheless!
I am now almost 30, and Obama is almost winning. This time, it's not an accident - it's intentional. And as a matter of fact, it's bad-ass.
November 8th, 6:30pm