It’s hard to remember, but there was a time when American politics was not a pit of complete despair. There was a time when it seemed like things were moving in the right direction. When the newly elected President of the United States had a background in politics and not reality television. A time when important international policy decisions weren’t announce via Game of Thrones meme on Twitter. A time when America’s motto was “Yes We Can” and not “Omfg Look What We Did.” I’m talking, of course, about the 2008 election of Barack Obama, which was a casual 10 years ago as of yesterday. Yeah. Let that sink in.
Obviously, our favorite celebs joined in to celebrate/cry over this momentous occasion. Here were our fav reactions:
To be hopeless is to disregard history. Stay hope-filled. #10YearsAgoToday pic.twitter.com/71Bp2EiVvJ
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) November 5, 2018
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An unpublished photograph from ten years ago tonight: President-elect Barack Obama with daughter Malia on election night in Chicago. I had spent a couple of years documenting his first two years (2005-2006) in the Senate and the first few months of his Presidential campaign in 2007 for the Chicago Tribune. But then I quit the Tribune to teach photojournalism at Ohio University and only covered a few campaign events in 2008. On November 4, 2008, I flew up to Chicago, and through tears, photographed the celebration. I remember a photographer-friend said to me that night, “I’m so glad I am alive to see this happen.” He, too, had tears in his eyes. And little did I know that just a couple of months later I would receive a phone call that would change my life.
10 years ago today, while volunteering for @BarackObama, Republican students at the University of Florida threw rocks at us to intimidate us from taking young voters to the polls. We didn’t stop.
We voted. Obama won. That was 10 years ago today.
Vote on Tuesday. Win it back. ????????
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) November 4, 2018
On this day 10 years ago, we elected Barack Obama as the President of the United States! pic.twitter.com/OwFMvdY6qO
— COMMON (@common) November 4, 2018
And, of course…
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As I reflect on election night ten years ago today, I can’t help but think about where my political career started. I wasn’t running for office. I was running a voter-registration drive in Chicago. What I learned then — and what would become the premise of my 2008 campaign — was that you couldn’t just fight for existing votes. You had to reach out to all of these people who had lost faith and lost trust, and get them off the sidelines. So during our first campaign, when I started seeing all these stories about record turnout in communities all over the country — from young people in line for hours in Iowa to elderly folks in lawn chairs down in Florida — I knew that we had shown what is possible when everybody decides to participate. And that, in and of itself, gave people a sense of their own power — their own agency in the kind of country we want to leave for our kids. When more people get off the sidelines and decide to participate, our country becomes a little more representative of its people — of everyone’s collective decision. And American politics can change as a result. So on Election Day this Tuesday, I’m not just asking you to vote. I’m asking you to really show up once again. Talk with your friends, convince some new voters, and get them out to vote because then something powerful happens. Change happens. Hope happens. And with each new step we take in the direction of fairness, and justice, and equality, and opportunity, hope spreads.
Want to feel this way after an election again? Might we suggest voting in tomorrow’s midterm elections?
Find out all the info you need to vote in the midterms here.
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