My Piece of History

Dec 302008

By Tatjana Aleksic

Wednesday night in Washington ... people standing in lines. On every corner there is line. “What is happening?” I asked. People were saying “nothing, we are waiting for the newspaper “. This is not an ordinary Wednesday; it is the day after the election .They are waiting for the “Washington Post” special edition. They buying 5 copies, they want to keep it for their grandchildren. I join them in line and I buy a copy. I have my piece of history, on paper.

These were days when history was being made… and we were there to witness it. First time in history an African-American becomes the president of the USA. Barack Obama and his family will be in the White House, after the George Bush, who will go into history as the most unpopular president in American history. America has so much hope in Barack Obama. Will he be the man who changes America? People in America need change, and the people all around the world would like to see America changing.

I spent ten days in Cleveland, Ohio, and I was often asked why someone comes all the way from Serbia to cover the election in the USA. Who will be leading the Americans is important for whole world! My country will be affected also. People in Serbia are so interested in this election, they are watching every day what Obama or McCain are doing. That was my answer. But it is not only the foreign policy; it was also something about this election, the energy that spread all over the world keeps people in my country up all night to watch news from the USA.

Ohio was always a battleground state. The last days of election candidates spent a lot of time in this state. On these rallies I saw two different Americas. McCain had a rally in Sandusky, a little town near Cleveland. A couple thousand of his supports came there to see him. Mostly white people. I asked them why McCain, and they were talking about Obama being socialist and that America does not need change. “If America is a bad place, why do so many people from all around world want to live in America,” one woman said, and then, to my surprise added, “If Obama wins I will leave the country”.

On the other side of the street, two hundred of young African-Americans, supporters of Obama were shouting “We what change “. I asked them the same question, why Obama? The answers were so different from McCain‘s people. They were talking about how they need jobs and health care. “We want a better life and Obama will give us that,” young men said. They were very angry at the system because they think that society did not give them a fair chance.

Both groups shouted the name of their candidate, very loudly, buy everyone left in peace. After the election they will have to continue to live together.

“I never thought that I would in my lifetime see a black man go so far. I never thought that I would see a black president,” an elderly African-American women said to me on election night. She was crying. America is still a country where everything is possible, if you have a dream.

The writer is a reporter for RTV B92 in Belgrade, Serbia.