If you could experience the extremities of every emotion at once, that is exactly how spending Saturday, Nov. 8, in the nation’s capital felt.
After four years of tension, Nov. 8 was a relief for not just many Americans but the world. The U.K.’s left-leaning Guardian newspaper boasted:
“Joe Biden has won…renewing hope for the US and the world, [touting] fresh promise for democracy and progress [after] four years of turmoil misinformation, manipulation, and division.”Taken from this article in CNBC
Following the notification of Biden’s projected win, 14th Street in Washington D.C. erupted with cheers and the blares of car horns. Champagne was popped and poured on celebrators on the corner of H Street and BLM Plaza in front of the White House. A trumpet band played for a crowd that danced on the grass in Logan Circle. People were crying and hugging; the human spirit was raw and blissful. D.C. was the center of the universe.
After spending the morning at the White House and the afternoon at an impromptu celebratory lunch with a friend, I enjoyed the twenty-minute walk home. Even outside of that Saturday’s events, it was an absolutely gorgeous day. After a cold-front and a series of grey, rainy afternoons, Nov. 8 was bright, cool, and clear. It was one of those days where the Earth seemed renewed and anything was possible.
I stopped for a second once I hit Dupont Circle, a crossroads between a more relaxed West End, the busyness of Downtown, and the quirkiness of Logan Circle.
I think everyone lives waiting to experience *those* moments, the time in your life where for just a split second anything seems possible. Maybe, they’re the moments where everything falls into place or where nothing makes sense at all. Regardless, they’re the pivotal moments in your life that completely cause you to change your course or return to it.
So I found myself walking a bit lighter than normal, watching people lean out of their cars to cheer every so often. A moment was never void of someone cheering in the not-so-far distance.
When did things change for me?
When applying to colleges, I strictly based my search for schools with strong programs in international affairs and foreign policy. I wanted to help people without dealing with the divisiveness of American politics, and international development was the best way I knew how to do just that. Yet now after my freshman year, I’ve found myself tirelessly searching for a career path that will give me purpose.
I was walking from DuPont when suddenly I had *that* moment. I had the sudden realization that somewhere down the line, I lost sight of what gave me purpose. Now I know that I want to help fight for the collective human spirit in any capacity I can. America was figuring out the same.
Recognizing *that* moment
I continue my walk home as I turn the corner onto 14th Street, where muddled cheers have turned into chanting. A Black Lives Matter protest marches down the middle of the street, as others from the sidewalk slowly infiltrated into the crowd.
I stood in awe, the red light in front of me separating the two distinct moments in history. Despite the noise, in that moment, it felt as though you could hear a pin drop.
That’s where we stand: at crossroads, where we can go back or we can go forward. D.C. on Nov. 8 was symbolic of *that* moment, showcasing what America was feeling and the change the country recognized is now in its reach.