As a born and raised Texan, I don’t generally wear gloves or a scarf. “Cold” to me is 40 degrees, but in Washington D.C. the temperature hovered in the teens and twenties. Standing in the crowded streets with four layers of clothes, a hat, gloves and a scarf, I wondered why it was still so cold. At one point, the wind chill brought it down to three degrees, but my heart was warm knowing what was to come over the next three days.
For almost a year I worked toward this moment. From being a delegate to campaigning in New Mexico, I felt I wanted this more than anyone. I must admit I bought my plane ticket and booked a hotel room in August with the sincere hope that I was going to be happy with the winning candidate. Either way, I was sure I would cry. My preference would be tears of joy, of course, not tears of utter disappointment and fear.
From the time I sat down on the plane headed to D.C. until I arrived back in Houston, it seemed every conversation had something to do with Barack Obama. It was as if I stepped into Obamaland. Here, I felt no need to censor my enthusiasm for the man, as I usually have to do in Texas. I could openly show my support for Obama without getting a dirty look or a snide remark or being grilled as to why I like him. It was refreshing, to say the least.
On Tuesday, two million people stood, sat, huddled and cried together as our new president took the oath of office. I had never heard two million people be silent. As soon as he put his hand on Abraham Lincoln’s bible, it was like the first moment your plane touches down on the runway after being in the air for hours and you breathe that subconscious subtle sigh of relief. Nothing mattered to me at that point, and I felt truly blessed to be there. We did it.