I voted on election day here in urban Philadelphia. We waited in line 40 minutes at 9 am, and were told that the line an hour prior had been three times as long.
A couple blocks over, on the street the Obama held one of his rallies and which would be the beginning of what many would think of as West Philly (where the Fresh Prince was from
) there were 200 people in line, most of them black.
On the subway this morning, there were teenagers who looked too young to vote wearing Obama tshirts. Last night, when the election was called, we all went out on our porches and screamed in joy, the cars driving by were honking, there were impromptu drum circles and a flat bed truck driving around with a Obama dance party in the back. In short... people were excited. You'd think we just won the World Series
I do not, however, think it was about race. I never did. The increase in enthusiasm and turnout was the same in the 'under 30' crowd as among black people. It was similar among all voters. People who formerly felt disenfranchised had a candidate they believed in.
To say it is about race is pretty simplistic and pretty bizarre. If it were, Ken Blackwell, Al Sharpton, Alan Keyes, Condoleeza Rice well you get my point. That an overwhelming majority of black people voted for Obama speaks more to the fact that they are overwhelmingly liberal.
We all, hopefully, evaluated candidates for policy and practice. I didn't vote for Obama because he was black anymore than I voted for them because Biden was white. That is not to say that I don't understand why the older men and women, who remember segregation, who had to demand and fight for the right to vote at all, don't have the right to look at this as an achievement for humanity. But that is the fact that a half-Kenyan, half-Kansan man could be elected that is historic, not the reason they voted for him.
I do think this election was historic because we had a candidate who told us why we should vote for him, instead of why we shouldn't vote for the other guy. I've been waiting for a Democrat to do that my whole adult life (sooo... since Clinton...)