As Barack Obama gracefully transitioned from Presidential Candidate to President Elect, the city of Los Angeles watched in awe, admiration and befuddlement.
More than 17,000 supporters were expected at the major Obama Support Party at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City.
FBLA watched the election returns at a less august venue, a California Pizza Kitchen on Sunset Boulevard that was scheduled to go out of business as of Saturday due to dire economic conditions.
The staff and patrons of the CPK were teary eyed, but no one was quite sure whether that was due to Obama’s stunning victory or the CPK going down the drain.
One bar patron was ecstatic. “Isn’t this fucking beautiful?” he cried.
“What?” came the reply. “You mean the first African American President?”
“No,” the tipsy barstool replied. “The fact that we’ll never have to listen to or have anything to do with someone like George Bush.”
As FBLA retired from the CPK to a bus headed down Sunset Blvd., the Obama craze that was dominating CNN had transferred to the streets and onto public transit. Even the bus driver was smiling as she purred, “Isn’t it a great night?”
The two 20-something girls sitting in the middle of the bus were engaged in deep conversation with a well-built black man about “how great” it was that Obama had won. The black man nodded.
The girls went on: “It’s such a great day for America that a black man, like yourself, can take over the highest office in the land. Don’t you think it’s great?”
The girls jumped to their feet and blurted: “Was that La Brea?”
When they were told La Brea had been six blocks back, they immediately ran to the exit giggling, then jumped off and screamed out: “OBAMA.”
The immediacy of the Obama’s victory was not lost on Los Angelenos who are not strangers to racial tension. Rather, it was imbibed by them and they drank it down like a long-awaited elixir.
As Obama proclaimed “Change has come to America,” a few evening denizens listened and hoped for the future.