November 4

After we visited the Pyramids in August we had difficulty finding a taxi cab to take us back to the metro station for less than an exorbitant sum. We’d resolved to walk further down the street in hopes of catching a taxi further away, when a man driving a private car offered to take us instead. He offered half what the other drivers had requested, so we jumped at the offer. Kelly and Savannah and I were in the back, with Tommy up front. As soon as he started the car, the driver started talking politics with Tommy. He wanted to know what we thought about Barack Obama---and despite our best efforts to convince him otherwise, he said that he thought America would never elect the “black one.”

Tuesday night in the United States was Wednesday morning in Cairo. I got back from class on Tuesday and discovered that the sandstorm two weeks ago had disconnected our satellite. There was a pulsing, flashing “No Signal” every time we tried to turn it on. We ended up crashing a friend’s apartment—where his roommates were all asleep—to watch CNN’s election coverage via an actually connected satellite. We started watching at 4 A.M. after Pennsylvania had already been called, and stayed up, biting our nails, waiting as Ohio was called, and then Virginia. I called my parents at around 5:45 A.M. and my mother told me that she had personally counted my ballot and even had a picture of it on her camera phone. My precinct went 900 votes for McCain to 545 votes for Obama, but I count that a solid Democratic turnout.

At 6 A.M. Cairo time, the sun was already starting to rise when the polls closed in California. I cried when it flashed across the screen that Barack Obama had been elected President of the United States. I had been waiting for that moment for four years—ever since, exhausted from band camp, I watched him give his famous speech to the 2004 Democratic Convention. I didn’t always think he could do it, I didn’t always think he should, but since the day I watched him launch his campaign from my dorm room in February of my freshman year I was solidly behind Barack Obama. Last year I got up early, froze for hours in line, and skipped class to hear him speak with the Kennedy clan at AU. I signed my (very Republican) father up to receive news alerts from the Obama campaign, hoping maybe he would read them. I proudly taped my Obama sign in my window at home, which prompted my across the street neighbor to put out his McCain yard sign. I wore my Students for Barack Obama t-shirt to work at the shelter to encourage the residents to register and vote. My biggest regret about the summer is that in-between my job and internship, I didn’t have time to volunteer for the campaign. In August and September I begged my parents and my friends to email me news articles charting the progress of the race, because my internet connection wasn’t strong enough to load anything but basic gmail.

On Tuesday, we stayed up even after the race was called, watching McCain’s concession speech, waiting for the acceptance to begin. Two of my roommates who made the smart decision to go to bed arrived just in time to see the President Elect walk onto the stage. We all cried together as we listened to Barack Obama accept the overwhelming victory handed to him by the American people. The next day in class, one of my professors said it best. She said that for the first time in a long while, she was proud to be an American abroad. I am proud, too.



Uncle Brian said...


Just read your blog on the election and it was great. Anyone who did not get emotional when the election was called for Obama is either unfeeling or too Republican to care. A great night for the good old USA. I hope he governs as wisely as I think he will.

Our very Republican county in Florida did not give a majority to Obama and neither did York or Lancaster Counties in Pa. Happy to hear that your ballot was recorded and helped put Pa in the Obama camp. I'm also happy this was a national victory for President Elect Obama and not a slim majority needing a recount that would put the outcome in doubt.

Any reaction from the Egyptian people you come in contact with?

Uncle Brian

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