Everywhere I go in America, people are dreaming about President Barack Obama. At Birmingham airport in Alabama, I see a smartly dressed middle aged African-American woman so immersed in a glossy book about Obama that she doesn't pick up her phone which rings insistently. On a plane from Baltimore to Columbus Ohio, there are four big guys -- two white, two black -- all in "Yes We Can" t-shirts. On a gloriously warm late October morning in Madison, Wisconsin, all I can hear are fragments of conversations about the latest poll numbers in Virginia and Florida. There is iconography of Obama everywhere. On a train from New York City to Washington DC, I sit next to a woman who tells me that Powell will be Secretary of State. America is teetering on the verge of history. We are all holding our breath. Everywhere the questions are the same. Who are you voting for? Can He lose? An eight year nightmare finally over.... can you believe it?
And then in cab coming from New York's La Guardia into Manhattan, a Pakistani driver is fast forwarding to next Wednesday morning, when we come into work after the deed is done and the history is finally made. The cab driver, a handsome, unshaven man with two young daughters who he is bringing up to treat all creeds equally, is thinking about President Barack Obama.
We are stuck in the Midtown Tunnel. The traffic is terrible. "What is going to change when Obama is elected?" I ask him.
I press him. "But what exactly will change?"
"The traffic," he says, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. "There won't be so much traffic."
He is silent for a few moments, perhaps to think more deeply about Barack Obama's impact on the New York City traffic. "He can make some difference," the Pakistani cab driver says, turning around and smiling gently at me. "You know, he could. He really could."