RSS FeedFacebookSearch
Gary Younge


Voters wait in line at a polling station in Chicago on Tuesday. Photograph: Nam Y Huh/AP
Obama's hometown of Chicago confident in his chances

At the President's Lounge bar on Chicago's southside on Monday night all the talk was about 'the wait'. Harold Davis tried to vote early a few days before but after two hours he had to go to work. Z, the barmaid, said she didn't care how long the lines were she would not leave until the deed was done. Her friend, on the other side of the bar, she would give it an hour.

"I'm not waiting no three hours to vote. If they can't get me through in an hour I'm leaving." In the end there was little to worry about.

At the Israel Methodist Community Church, just around the corner, there was a long line when the polls opened at dawn. But within a few hours, voters were in and out in a matter of minutes. Here in the heart of black Chicago, not far from where Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama worked as a community organiser, the question wasn't so much who they were going to vote for but whether they thought he would win.

"He's gonna win," said one woman as she left the polling station under a fluttering Stars and Stripes. "I have left it in God's hands and I'm sure he will deliver."

A few miles south in the more mixed suburb of Glenwood it took Davis 40 minutes to get in and out. He usually votes in the evening but had organised with a co-worker to cover for him in the morning and then return the favour in the evening. Davis, an African American, who voted for Obama was not convinced that his vote would be counted. "They stole it before so they can steal it again. I don't know what happens if they do it this time. But I think there'll be trouble."

Confident that Obama would win if the vote were free and fair, Davis looked forward to going back to the President's Lounge last night to celebrate.

A stocky plain-spoken man in his fifties, he said he felt proud and excited to have cast a vote for a black president. "I never thought he would come this far. I really didn't. I think it's great for America. Not just black America. But all of America…."

And then his voice cracked. And then he cried. Walking away to compose himself he came back. "I'm sorry he said. I never knew this thing went so deep."

© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc
Stranger in a Strange Land – Encounters in the Disunited States
book review
'It often takes an outsider to look inside. This is especially true of the United States.'
 follow on twitter
RT @resfoundation: Living in lockdown - 16 per cent of families in London live in overcrowded accommodation. That's almost three times as m…
Even before the current economic crisis, 4 in 10 American adults did not have the savings or other resources to cov… https://t.co/hl9vTKKuKW
RT @vialofhope: and i began the wonder...as i sit working from home on the dressing table in the box room of my family's council house expl…
RT @MikeSegalov: hi @metpoliceuk, walking through finsbury park alone just now, taking exercise, i witnessed a woman being confronted by tw…
RT @kannampilly: There is this phrase in journalism, ‘When a dog bites a man, that isn’t a story; when a man bites a dog, that’s a story’..…
RT @rterrasa: Lecturas de cuarentena. Esto de @garyyounge en @librosdelko es muy muy recomendable. De nada. https://t.co/ATq8u5xigl
RT @MsJeanRhys: My God, this is a funny way to live. My God, how did this happen?
RT @asesorpolitico: Austérité, despotisme et corruption ont poussé des millions de citoyens du monde entier à porter leurs revendications d…
© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc