The warmth of the touch…

My memory keeps drifting back to New York’s Times Square; November 4th, the historic night of elation for an entire generation brought up on the notion that “Yes we can” change the world. Our young, and old, and rich and poor, gay and straight, and black, white and other voices united for a common good; a common purpose. Not only concerned for our own agenda, but wanting, willing and able to help others.
That night, I wandered through Times Square in awe of the sheer volume of people in the square. The giant jumbo-trons of CNN, ABC, NBC, announcing returns from each state as they came in, one by one; first, New Hampshire, Obama, then Florida, Obama, then the bell-weather state of Ohio, Obama. The masses clapped, and cheered, and laughed and embraced their neighbours, strangers until a few minutes earlier. The air was electric and each person was a little proton surging toward the win, while dancing momentarily with each other.
As the party wound up in the streets, we managed to duck in to the renowned, B. Smiths (http://www.bsmith.com/index2.php ) restaurant and bar, to view President Elect Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. The bar was vibrant in colors of the world, each one of them smiling, shaking their heads in disbelief, content in the notion that smart, charismatic and wise can prevail in the money machine that has become the American dream.
While Obama gave one of his best speeches to date, and the interface to several TV’s in the bar filled with viewers, I made my way half way up the stairs toward the restaurant in order to get a better view. I watched Barack, and I watched the people watching him, and it hit me just how surreal the moment was. I remembered back to some of the movies that I had seen, detailing the horrors of the deep south, their racial battles, their segregation, their intolerance. I hoped that all of those memories for the people here in this room could be quietly replaced with hope for the future. This seemed like a tall order.
Obama’s speech concluded, and I stood by myself mid-way up the stairs, content and continuing to take in the flavours of the party, when an elderly handsome black man stood at the top of the stairs, looking down. We smiled at each other. He began his descent, and when he was about to step on the stair that I was on, I held up my left hand for a high five. He took my hand in both of his and squeezed like it had never been squeezed, warmth and emotion flowing from his arm into mine. No words were spoken. No words were needed.

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