Last night was a truly novel experience.
I was in a bar full of young people cheering, screaming, clapping and crying over our new president. My heart swelled with brand-new emotions--political emotions of pride, inspiration, patriotism and hope. I was in tears throughout his acceptance speech.
Who is this President Obama? He spoke beautifully! He said things didn't just make sense, they were highly intelligent! He was magnanimous in victory! He invoked the greatest moments of America's history, and our most shining patriotic values! He credited the democratic process and the millions of voters throughout the country for his victory, and he asked for our help, and yes, sacrifice, in meeting the difficult challenges ahead!
We took to the streets of Brooklyn where the whooping and hollering were joined by honking, high-fives and hugs, and dancing. I saw the same looks of amazement on everyone's faces that I felt.
This is an incredible day for everyone in America. But for young people who have never known in our adult lives any president except George W. Bush, who is the opposite of the above qualities in every possible way, it's an especially great day, because we helped make it happen.
Young people tripled and quadrupled their turnout in the primaries, providing the margin of victory for Obama in crucial states like Iowa. Rock the Vote alone registered 2.5 million. The news commentators already acknowledged last night that the recurring promise of the youth vote has finally been delivered in this election, as early reports showed record turnout on Election Day as well.
The Millennials, born after 1978, are more diverse, tolerant and progressive than their elders, and we have suffered harshly from the economic policies of the previous administration. We're the largest and fastest-growing group without health care and the second most likely to declare bankruptcy. We're burdened by student loans, credit card debt, and the environmental and economic crises created by our elders. But this is our moment to help change the social compact in America for good. This is our movement.