On Tuesday, Nov. 4, Election Day, a party took place to keep track of the final campaign hours and await the countdown to who will be announced as the next president-elect of the United States. Knox’s Campus Life Office hosted the party in Post Lobby, where the large, flat-screen television broadcast CNN’s coverage of the end of the campaign trail as the votes were counted and each state announced the projected winner. Broadcasts of the results of Senate and House of Representatives elections were also announced.
Around 70 students attended the event. The number was not constant as students kept filtering in and out of the Lobby during the party. Groups of students sat attentively watching the CNN broadcast. The snack table paid tribute to the Republican vs. Democrat dynamic of the campaign by having a red punch bowl and a blue punch bowl. On the wall was a large black and white map of the United States and every time a state’s winner was announced Student Activities Coordinator Jenn Snider would color in the state red or blue, depending on the winner. Students were also allowed to take part in the coloring.
“I am really enjoying myself,” said senior Molly Wilson as she colored in a state. “I am surprised, and glad, this many people had showed up for the party.”
The Knox crowd, predominantly supporters of President-elect Barack Obama, cheered raucously each time Obama took a state. Whenever Sen. John McCain won a state, there was mild booing. When a student asked the crowd whether there were any McCain supporters among them, only one person raised his hand.
Covering the broadcast for the majority of the time was CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper, with contributions from Soledad O’Brien and other journalists. An unusual part of the broadcast was the fact that Anderson Cooper was visited by a hologram image of will.i.am, a member of the Black Eyed Peas and an endorser of Obama. “Wow, that was kind of creepy,” one Knox student remarked.
Even before Senator Obama was officially announced as the winner, it was becoming increasingly obvious he would win as he raked in more and more states and CNN projected his victory. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes in order to win, and Obama ended up with 338 votes to McCain’s 144. McCain gave a brief speech in which he congratulated Obama and promised him his support, saying “Americans never quit.”
Knox students cheered wildly and joyfully as Obama was announced the winner. “I have a dream!” one student shouted. Some hugged, a few high-fived each other, and a half-undressed noisy throng of students ran through Post Lobby outside shouting “Obama!”
The new president-elect gave a speech at Grant Park, Chicago, which was attended by over 100,000 people, who waved little American flags, cried tears of joy, and cheered in jubilee. Obama spoke of the difficult challenges ahead, challenges that “might not be solved in one year or in one term.” He called upon the people of America to help him carry the burden of rebuilding the nation, always emphasizing “we” instead of “I”.
President-elect Obama and his running mate, Vice President-elect Joseph Biden of Delaware, will be officially inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009.
The party ended around 11 p.m. After that, a huge crowd of Knox students made a celebratory ramble across campus, stopping briefly next to Five-Name, and then marched off to cheer in front of Old Main, shouting Obama’s slogan, “Yes We Can!”