By Patrick Thelen
The long, exhausting and grueling presidential campaign is finally over. Barack Obama has been re-elected and his supporters woke up this morning feeling happy, relieved and at ease.
Last night, emotions weren´t as peaceful among some President Obama supporters. In an electoral viewing party held by Community Coalition, South LA neighbors came together to watch CNN’s coverage of the election.
“How are they doing?” These were the first words asked by a woman arriving to the party with her teenage daughter at 6:50 p.m.
“It´s tight,” was the response she received.
“Oh, that´s not good. I’m worried.”
She wasn´t the only one feeling that way. There was a tense atmosphere among the people watching the coverage at Community Coalition´s headquarters.
“I want Obama to win but it looks like a tight race. We´re at the edge right now. It´s like we´re walking on a tight rope,” said Francisco Pérez. “Whatever happens,” he added, “we´re going to have to deal with it.”
At 7:00 pm, a number of people cheer when they hear that CNN has projected President Obama´s victory in New Hampshire. 15 minutes later, CNN reporters say that Democrats hold onto Senate majority. The mood is beginning to change. People are starting to loosen up and some are even making a couple of jokes. Others decide to stand up and begin eating the food offered by Community Coalition.
It´s 7:20 pm and Rose Davidson is still feeling worried and anxious. “I´m very nervous. It doesn´t look good in some states,” she said. “I´ll feel bad if Obama loses. A lot of things will change. It´ll be hard for us.”
Katy Nixon is sitting next to Rose. Both of them were born in Belize, and arrived to the United States in the early ‘70s. They’ve been friends for over 20 years. “If Obama loses it´ll be hard for the 47 percent of us Romney criticized. He doesn´t know much about living from one paycheck to another paycheck,” said Katy. “For my part,” she added, “I´m just praying for Obama to be re-elected. I have my confidence in God. He´ll put Obama back there.”
At 7:44 pm, people begin cheering when CNN projects that President Obama has won Minnesota. 11 minutes later clapping sounds fill the room as they find out that Democrat Elizabeth Warren defeated incumbent Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race.
At 8:00 pm, a large cheer is heard as the community learns that Obama has won California, the biggest and most populous prize of the night, which carries with it a whopping 55 electoral votes. Only five minutes later, the loud joviality turns into silence when CNN projects that Mitt Romney has won North Carolina.
Mirna Márquez is not as nervous and excited as some of the other community members. “I voted for Obama,” she says in Spanish, “but I am sad because he has not done what he promised in 2008. I have not seen changes. Everything is the same.”
Jocelyn, Mirna’s 11-year-old daughter who studies at the Ambassador School of Global Leadership, doesn´t care who wins. “Why is everyone so nervous about this?” she asked.
As these words came out of her mouth the room was filled with cheering, yelling and cries of happiness. It was 8:15 and CNN informed that President Obama had won the elections. “Everybody´s going crazy,” Jocelyn said, as she observed the members of her community. “You have to write that down in your article,” she added.
María Muñiz, a young member of the Latino community said “I am super excited right now. I support Obama’s views on birth control, and I am glad that I will have the freedom to choose what to do with my body.”
JoeAnna Fulton was also glad about President Obama’s victory. “I am happy that Romney didn´t win because he got on my nerves.”
Katy Nixon, the senior citizen that Intersections had previously talked to, was delighted. “I´m feeling happy. Things are going to be progressing now. President Obama will have four more years to make things better for whites, blacks, rich, poor, everybody. You know what, I´m going to have a good night’s sleep.”