Vol. 3, Issue #21 Nov. 7th - Nov. 20th, 2008

The Faulking Truth

Change Has Come to America

By: Mark Faulk
© 2008 Mark Faulk. All rights reserved.

In Times Square tonight, President-elect Barack Obama truly was larger than life, with multiple images of our country’s first black president-elect towering over tens of thousands of ecstatic Obama supporters.

After a day of interviewing voters outside of one New York City’s voting places (PS 41), I had finally retired to my hotel room, 1,500 miles from Oklahoma City, to watch the election on TV. As the talking heads on MSNBC tried their best to build up a level of excitement to match the obvious historic repercussions of the night; as Chris Matthews gushed (almost to the point of embarrassment) about the very real possibility of a black man living in the White House, of his black children running around the halls (I told you it was almost embarrassing), I began to realize just how historic this event is.

Historic yes because Obama has broken the highest glass ceiling in the world, elected president where until this moment the adage that anyone can grow up to be President of the United States never really rang quite true. But also historic in that America resoundingly rejected the politics of fear and rhetoric and instead voted for change. Historic in that this election signaled a true generational shift in politics, a vote not just of confidence in a young charismatic voice of hope, but of rejection of the turmoil and partisan politics of greed that have haunted our country during the past decade. Historic because, when all is said and done, Obama will not only win this election, but will have a clear mandate for change, securing the largest single voter total in election history.

Minutes before the results of the voting on the West Coast pushed Obama over the top, the noise level began to rise outside my window, horns honking, and voices chanting his name “Obama!...Obama!...Obama!” After growing up during the tumultuous struggle for civil rights in the Sixties, I knew I had to feel the excitement and not just hear the same tired voices talk about it from the artificial confines of a television screen.

I grabbed my camera, hailed a taxi outside my hotel, and headed for Times Square. As the door closed on the taxi, I walked towards the middle of Times Square, first approached by an elderly black woman asking for a little change to buy something to eat. She was smiling. I emptied my pocket of change and handed it to her...she hugged me and said “This is a great day, maybe even I have a chance to make it now.”

As she walked away, I followed her, touched her on the arm, and handed her $40, more money than I could afford to just give away. It didn’t matter. She hugged me again, and wouldn’t let go, then smiled once more, thanked me, “You know, maybe someday I’ll be president.”

I made my way to the center of Times Square and was swallowed up in a sea of people from every walk of life, all peering intently at the massive screens overhead, waiting for the moment that history would occur right before their eyes. Almost immediately it came. At exactly 11:00 PM, the networks called it....presidential candidate Barack Obama was now President-elect Barack Obama.

In an instant, the electricity was transformed to jubilation. Some cried, others laughed, everyone cheered.


It was stunning, and yes, overwhelming. All ages, all races, even all nationalities were caught up in the moment. The feeling was both one of hope and at the same time, relief. Hope that Obama could make good on the promises of his campaign and restore our collective faith in America, and relief...of what?

Then a young black man next to me (although it occurs to me that we might yet reach the point in our evolution where we no longer are defined by race, gender, or anything but our ideas and ideals) said it out loud: “Finally I get to say, no more Bush!” His girlfriend turned his words into a spontaneous chant:

“No more Bush! No more Bush!”

And almost immediately, thousands of voices echoed her cries:

“No more Bush! No more Bush!”

Maybe the largest cheer came when Obama walked to the stage in Grant Park in Chicago, as he waited not just for the crowd in Chicago to cam down, but for America to catch its collective breath. And then he began to speak:

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.”
But maybe the most deafening cheer came when President-elect Barack Obama brought Americans back together with a single sentence that was not just a role call of the diversity that crowded Times Square tonight, but a promise to work for all Americans:
“It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
And then he spoke of hope, in a way that Americans had not heard in too many years, in a way that many of the younger people who were shoulder to shoulder in Times Square, and who lined the streets of every major city in America, had never experienced:

“It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.”
As the words rang across Times Square, the reverent silence erupted into another cheer, and the crowd poured into the street, ignoring the dozens of police who had spent most of the evening coaxing people onto the sidewalks and center median. I was swept along with them, and stopped long enough to comment to a New York City police officer that they had a tough job tonight. His reply as the crowd overflowed into the streets? “It’s like the police don’t matter anymore.” Another police officer added, “Yeah, but in a good way.”

At least for that moment, with tens of thousands of people chanting together, filled with the hope that we might actually salvage our country for the next generation, the police didn’t matter. Like everyone else, they were caught up in history, swept up in a single defining moment that has forever changed the landscape of not just how we view politics, but of our country itself.

I worked my way up the street until the crowd thinned slightly, Obama’s words first fading into the distance, then growing stronger somewhere in front of me. I stopped in front of a taxi that had pulled over to the side of the road and opened his doors wide, radio turned up full volume, Obama’s speech ringing across the sidewalk. I joined the crowd that had gathered, about twenty people who had, like the tens of thousands of people in the center of Times Square, bonded instantly in a shared hope for the future. Together, we listened as soon-to-be President Barack Obama finished a speech that will someday be reprinted in history books:

“This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.”

Finally, I caught another taxi back to my hotel, clutching a handful of “Mission Accomplished: President Obama” bumper stickers as souvenirs. Like everyone in New York, and I hoped, everyone across the country, even the taxi driver seemed excited about the night’s events. I asked him what he thought about the results of the election, and in broken English, he summed up the feelings of seemingly everyone in New York:

“People are happy. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that around here. They don’t know what’s going to happen, but they’re happy. And right now that’s good enough.”

(Mark Faulk’s awesomely wonderful first book, entitled The Naked Truth: Investing in the Stock Play of a Lifetime, is now available at www.thenakedtruthbook.com. Tune in with Mark Faulk and DeWayne Reeves every Friday from 9-10 AM CST on The Faulking Truth Show, and join Mark and Paul Faulk every Saturday from 1-2 PM CST on The Faulking Truth X2 Show at www.toginet.com)

Contact Mark Faulk at faulkingtruth@gmail.com

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©2008 NONCO Media, L.L.C.