The Day After

The campaign-less streets of Lincoln Heights

Despite my skepticism of the efficacy of electoral politics, I concede that the election of Barack Obama has brought demonstrative joy to the city of Los Angeles. Yesterday, I observed people smiling, celebrating and in an overall giddy mood*. I heard of workplaces having impromptu parties complete with champagne. Secret Obama supporters finally admitted their presidential choice and even some McCain supporters I know seemed buoyed by the energetic feelings around them.

A few overheard conversations from yesterday:

An older white woman comes into my workplace smiling broadly. She’s been quiet and then all of a sudden blurts out “We have a new president!” She then goes on to say how excited and relieved she is by the election results and exclaims “It’s like the whole country let out a sigh of relief.” I reply “I think it’s the whole world.

A Salvadoran nanny approaches a known McCain supporter and exclaims “So aren’t you excited about Barack Obama?!” I can make out some muttering and the nanny laughing. She then tells the McCain supporter “No matter who you voted for, you have to admit that his being elected president will inspire many communities and lots of youth.” The McCain supporter seems to sincerely agree.

At a popular restaurant, a middle aged African American man sits by himself at a booth with an ear to ear grin. A few minutes later, his friends show up, all African-American men, all with the same broad smiles. They are ecstatic, hugging, shaking hands. One friend greets the other with “Welcome to the NEW WORLD!” A White friend of theirs sheepishly comes up to the table of greetings and salutations and they shout to him “C’mere brother!” and hug him too.

*For some, this mood was tempered by the passing of Proposition 8. I know of one straight person who says they won’t marry in solidarity until everyone can get married. I’ve always had a problem with the concept of marriage as an institution (all my Emma Goldman influence) but that still doesn’t mean I don’t think everyone should have access to the rights and privileges of civil unions. Anyways, is it really about marriage? When I would see a ‘Yes on 8’ sticker on someone’s car I would think to myself “That person is anti-gay”. It’s just like the people who were for Prop 187, I felt like that propaganda was a coded way to be anti-Mexican.

How to win an election

In all the years I’ve lived in Lincoln Heights (for at least four presidential cycles now) one would never know there was a presidential election happening. There are very few yard signs, no door to door canvassing and no campaign offices. This year was different, an Obama campaign office sprung up in the new lofts across from Vons on Daly. It’s possible I missed places in the past, but this is the first presidential campaign office I’ve ever noticed in Lincoln Heights.
So hear that politicians, open an office in Lincoln Heights and win the election!

[Actually, it’s almost impossible to tell when any elections are happening with the exception of the Villaraigosa mayoral race. His campaign was the only one to ever come to my door and ask for my (somewhat useless) vote.]

The Day(s) After

Someone asked me today, “I wonder how long before we start to criticize Obama?” Ummm…

6 thoughts on “The Day After

  1. I thought a beautiful thing about the election, something I always knew but was proven with this election was that Latinos will support an African-American who they believe in. I was really very annoyed at people who implied that was an impossibility. It was a beautiful thing to be vindicated. On the Blue Line the day after the election a little Latino boy who was about maybe three yelled to me OBAMA, OBAMA, OBAMA. It was weird, but it was really cute. And I didn’t know how to react his mom was like, “You voted right? You voted for Obama didn’t you?” And I was like, yeah, but I explained I didn’t think it would happen. And the mom was like, “I knew he would win, this gives me alot of hope.” And she looked down at her little boy.

    I’m so happy that him just being a poc was enough to give other poc of color regardless of economic status hope. I’m still a little cynical (about institutional racism and things), but still it’s nice. It kind of reminded me of Connie Chung, you know I’m not Asian, but when I saw Connie Chung on TV all dignified and not blonde (not that blonde is bad, but I am so far from that and as a kid you think you can only do things that people who look like you do) it gave me a little bit of “hey I could be on TV.”


  2. Urbanista,

    The Latino population includes people who don’t live in East LA. There are Latinos in NY, San Gabriel, the Westside, Santa Monica, Chicago…I really think your comments was a little bit divisive for no reason, but you know whatever.

    I stand by my belief that culturally regardless of all the propaganda people try to push down Americans throughts that people whose families roots are from South of the US border are a little bit more tolerant in regards to race. Many black artists moved to Mexico to escape racism in the States. You can look at Latinos and you can tell, to me that’s the key how can you truly hate anyone when you are sort of everyone.

    Of course I could be bias, but the first people when I moved out here who talked to me even though I was weird, had a funny accent and didn’t make fun of me were Mexican-Americans.

    Yes I get there are racist Latinos, but in general from my personal experience they are less so than people’s whose roots are firmly in this country. I’m comparing the average person not the educated person, but the. The Latino person like that tends to be less racist and more tolerant just because of how that culture was created.


  3. Browne,

    I meant the EastLA HQ… not the Latinos of East LA. And the point was that more Latinos supported Obama than they did President Clinton.


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