At last

It's thrilling to watch the Obamas dance together, even without Beyonce.

Joan Walsh
January 21, 2009 1:01PM (UTC)

I came to the Obama Home States Ball – Hawaii and Illinois – mistakenly believing this was where Beyonce was singing "At last" to the Obamas' first dance. Wrong: They did that at the Neighborhoods ball downstairs from me. But you know what? I love the symbolism, that the neighborhoods got Beyonce, and got Barack and Michelle Obama first. I can live with that.

President Obama greeted the crowd with a big "Aloha!" and later Jon Yoshimura, Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka's communications director, said it "sent chills up my spine. But we always considered him our third senator." I love the racial mix of having Illinois and Hawaii together, this is a more Asian-American crowd than I've seen so far.


Obama urged the crowd to work with him "to create a world we'll be proud to pass on to our children and grandchildren." And then he danced with his wife; God, I loved the way the Obamas looked at one another.  CNN's D.L. Hughley stood beside me filming them with his camera phone.  Later I asked Hughley why we're all so invested in the Obamas' relationship, our focus on their "first dance" like that at a wedding. "I know why I am – because I've seen that in my own life, and on the Cosby Show, but I've never seen it represented that way in public life." Confession: I am paraphrasing that, because he was actually interviewing me, and I didn't have a notebook. But that was his point, and I know he's right.

I'm out of here. I walked about 10 miles today, I have no money because my daughter accidentally (really!) took all my cash back to New York with her. I'm going to find an ATM and pray I find a cab. More later, maybe.

Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh is the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."

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