It’s 2:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep. It’s like being a kid on Christmas Eve but knowing ahead of time that there’s a Barbie Dream House, a new bike, and a pony waiting underneath the tree. Each day this week I’ve been surprised anew at the opportunities I’ve had. A front-row seat to history, sitting in the rarified air of the convention hall as both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden spoke. Meeting George McGovern. Earning a skybox seat for the final day of the convention. Sharing a cab and a chat with the editor of Newsweek. Seeing too many celebrities–both political and entertainment–to count. Hitting afterparties where the sauce flows freely (literally) with great friends.
We ended up at one such party the night before last completely serendipitously, as I’m learning these things go at conventions. A friend of a friend knows someone and suddenly it’s 12 midnight and you’re standing on the VIP level of Invesco Field ordering a drink surrounded by good-looking people and wondering how you got there. That’s exactly what happened the other night. When we stepped off the elevator at the club level, the party was in its final hour. The good-looking people were scattering, tipsy and happy and, as everyone has been all week, expectant. Our little band of revelers took our beers and pushed through the glass doors that led to the terrace box seats. We sat watching a few workers even at that hour continuing to prepare the venue for tonight’s speech. Taking in this scene of quiet but electric anticipation, I smiled to myself and I took a breath of the chilled night air and I savored the moment.
I’ve worked my ass off for the man who will take the stage tonight. I’ve knocked on hundreds of doors in a dying Pennsylvania rust belt town with my father–a town that he and my mother used to be proud of in their idyllic 1950s childhoods, but that now breaks their hearts. I’ve jangled countless phones in D.C., trying to convince folks on the other end–many of whom are splitting their pills in half to save money or eyeing the gas tank needle nervously or the streets outside even more nervously–that the man I was interrupting their dinner for would actually help them and make a difference in their lives. I’ve strategized and I’ve labored over my keyboard searching for just the right words that might convince people to see what I see. September and October will bring more of the same.
When Barack Obama takes the stage tonight I will look down from my perch and know that this is one of the defining moments of my life. I believe that my children will be born into a better world if he wins. I believe that the asterisks qualifying my pride for my country will finally begin to fade after eight years of multiplying and darkening. I believe that my parents will finally get to see some of the Dream that seemed impossible throughout their lives realized. I believe–rather, I know–that my father will watch the speech tonight and recall the way he felt one similar night in 1960. And when he thinks about his daughter standing in that exact place, watching in person as Barack Obama accepts the nomination for the presidency of the United States, feeling for the first time the way he felt that night in 1960, his eyes will water a bit.
I believe that history will be made, not only tonight, but on the night of Nov. 4. When it is, I will know that I have done everything possible to make it happen. And I will smile to myself and I will take a breath of the chilled night air and I will savor the moment.