More than anything, the historic 2008 elections and Barack Obama’s election day victory were a testament to the power and the promise of democracy in the United States of America.Â In the face of long lines, dirty politics, threatened voter suppression, and the legacy of racism, the will of the American people ruled the day and made history.
And what was the deciding factor?Â Young people and African Americans – two groups that historically don’t exercise the right – discovered politics.
Young folks and black folks have always complained that voting doesn’t change America, and to a degree that’s correct.Â Voting by itself has never changed anything.
Barack Obama didn’t win just because millions of people stood in those lines on election day.Â This election was won by the thousands of people who participated in the political process by organizing, making phone calls, knocking on doors, bootlegging t-shirts, donating money, forwarding YouTube videos, throwing parties and talking amongst themselves about the issues.
This election cycle was more exciting than most partially because of our circumstances.Â The policies of George W. Bush and his administration have nearly bankrupted the nation and mired us in two wars.Â It was also more exciting because of who was running.Â Hilary Clinton made a strong run as the first serious woman candidate, narrowly losing to the first serious African American contender and eventual winner.
But this election was exciting because we got involved.Â We talked about it, we worked on the campaigns, we supported our chosen candidates.Â Young people and African Americans won this election for Barack Obama because we participated in more than just the vote, and then when it came down to it, we also voted in record numbers.
It can’t stop here.Â The next four years will be among the most challenging that the nation has faced.Â We can’t sit around waiting on Barack Obama to change this country for us.Â As Gandhi told us, we must “be the change we wish to see in the world.”
Here are some scenes from my coverage of election day in Michigan:
Some voters at Patchin Elementary School in Westland, Michigan had a very short wait at the polls, while others stood in line for two hours or more. Nadir examines the disparities and talks to some of the frustrated voters who nonetheless, were prepared to wait it out.
Vote Now! No Waiting at U of M
Compared to other precincts across the state, the waits at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor were very short. Nadir has the 411…
In Detroit, Michigan voters got out early to avoid long lines on election day. African Americans proved the difference for Barack Obama as he received 95% of the Black vote nationwide. This report from two Detroit precincts shows short lines at the end of the day after the festive chaos of the morning.
The young people who worked with Michigan Democratic Future and the Teamsters to get out the vote in the 2008 elections were ecstatic when it was announced that Barack Obama would become the 44th president of the United States.
Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel, Jr. stopped by the Michigan Democratic Future’s Obama Victory Celebration in Detroit on election night. MTV’s Street Team ’08 Michigan Correspondent, Nadir speaks with the mayor.