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November 4, 2008

November 4, 2008

Tuesday night will always be remembered for… Entourage. There we were, a group of different colors, different ages, different genders, different sexual orientations… all waiting for the news.

The West Coast states were about to come in, as the clock struck 11 pm on the East Coast. On CNN, Wolf Blitzer was counting down the seconds until the 11 pm polls came in. Blitzer says the words, “we may be able to make a major announcement soon…” The screen turns black. The room screams “What?!?” On the screen comes Jeremy Piven for an episode of Entourage. “What?!?”

A scheduled DVR recording was interrupting our 20-person viewing party. “Change the channel, change the channel!!!!” Our host clicks a few buttons and we land on CNN. “Barack Obama the Next President” is plastered on the screen. The roller coaster ride hit its peak as we all jumped, screamed, hugged, and cried.

As joyous crowds took to the streets outside our viewing party, we waited for the victory speech. When it came, we gathered around the TV with admiration and pride. He riffed on Sam Cooke, he acknowledged the great divide, and he delivered a speech that was not about race (even though that was on many minds). His first Presidential speech, was about America.

I’ll admit, when Obama entered the race, I had my doubts that our nation could get beyond the color of his skin. He was my guy from the beginning, but I was prepared to be disappointed. Then, something astonishing happened: he kept getting better and more powerful. He went from being an inspiration to becoming inspirational. Obama was able to lead a campaign that was nothing short of virtuoso. It was a masterpiece of the likes few artists could ever conceive.

I may live in a liberal bubble of left-wing artists, but, coming from Texas, I saw Obama create hope and faith in the most “conservative” voters. He became a symbol for what we wanted our country to become, and he never failed to bring intelligence and respect to what it meant to be an American.

Obama has the patience and the respect that makes a good leader. I know this firsthand, from almost two years ago, when I met the man at the Austin airport. He was in a hurry and he was tired, but he still made time to greet well-wishers and pose for photographs. This is before he was the nominee, this was just a man trying to connect with the people. It has been years since America had a leader with that ability.

After the victory speech, a bunch of us descended upon nearby Union Square, which was had become a party. Thousands flocked to sing, chant, cheer, and celebrate. Strangers embraced, men of different ethnic backgrounds shook hands and exhaled “We did it.” Sure enough, many in the indie film community united in Union Square, while celebrities like chef Bobby Flay, actress Marisa Tomei, and SNL Obama impersonator Fred Armisen mingled with the exuberant crowds. “Yes we can!” “Yes we did!”

(Election night beverage of choice.)

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