“You can be anybody you want to be!”

Election Night

I stood next to this family in the final moments when Obama was elected, right as they were announcing California and the West Coast. My Ruthie was capturing everything on film. We were in a room of over a thousand people all of whom had worked on the Washington regional campaign.

Look at the eyes, look at the faces. I think I have waited forty years to see these eyes, these looks of wonder, pain and joy, all mixed, as if it were a hundred generations of ancestors in their eyes.

I came of age and into political consciousness with the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The tragedy has weighed on me ever since, pretty heavily, for family reasons. It is they who were on my mind at that moment standing next to this lovely family all of us screaming at the top of our lungs!! I felt finally that Martin and Bobby did not die in vain.

Then the mother, the lady on the left, turned to her tall lanky son, a teenager who seemed bewildered by what was happening, and she held his face in her two hands, and she looked up into his eyes, and said slowly, lovingly, and passionately “You can be anybody you want to be!”

Election Night, Rockville, MD © Marc Gopin