Los Angeles – There was no VIP guest list. There were no Hollywood bouncers. At the front door of the Century City Hotel last night, all Angelenos were welcome to enter the Southern California Obama election day party and celebrate the historic night of victory. And they did.
Outside, instead of back-to-back limos that usually line L.A. streets on nights of big events, it was wall-to-wall people. More than 10,000 of them—plumbers, teachers, everyday people—stood waiting for the envelope to be opened and the winner to be announced. The category: Best Man for the Job.
Many partygoers were alerted about the Obama win after large groups of people huddled in front of TVs jumped for joy and balloons started popping. This celebration was not divided by color lines. Whites hugged Blacks, Blacks cried with Asians, and Asians high-fived Latinos. “Look around here. The diversity of Obama supporters is reflective of our society,” said Marilyn Wilcher, noting the unity of the crowd. “Obama’s victory will make people feel more comfortable talking about race. I was talking to someone tonight that said, ‘I’m so sick of White people and their ignorance’ and that person was White!”
Many said Obama was the reason for the 82 percent voter turnout in Los Angeles County, the largest since 1968, when the country was rocked by two assassinations (Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy) and the Vietnam War. That year, 86 percent of registered voters cast a ballot for either Richard Nixon or Hubert Humphrey or George Wallace in the presidential race. In between “We will, we will Barack you” chants, there were numerous conversations about what was next for Obama and for the country.
Vanessa Moore, who had volunteered for the campaign, said that getting Main Street and Wall Street straightened out was going to be our biggest challenge. Other conversations focused on God and the power of miracles. A performance by the gospel group Mary Mary brought a little church to the party.
Just like most soirees thrown by rock stars, this one was crashed by fire marshals looking to control the crowds. However, the power of Obama’s victory could not be extinguished; too much work had been done and too many odds had been overcome. So the party rocked on until the twilight hours.