Elderly Optimistic About Obama

Escorted by her driver from Campbell Heights Apartments, a senior citizen community on 16th Street, N.W., Anne Macey, 73, walked slowly with her green walker filled with personal items, head scarves, make-up, and a black purse toward the voting area in Garnet-Patterson Junior High School. “I don’t need your help,” she told her driver as she entered the doors to the polling booth.

Macey, like other senior citizens 65 and older, didn’t have to wait in line. They were escorted to the front to cast their vote. This older generation was very optimistic and hoped that Obama would be victorious. But most said they never thought they would live to see the day when an African-American could become President.

Also from Campbell Heights, Alama Matthew, 98, who has lived in D.C. since 1945, said she never thought she would see this day. “I voted Democrat because I don’t know no other way,” Matthews said. “I hope he wins.’

“It’s an exciting day. As old as I am, I never thought I’d live to see the day,” said Ruby Keyes, who said she is pushing 80.

Initially unaware that senior citizens could go to the front of the line, Keyes waited patiently, inching closer to polling booth. “I stood in line for an hour until someone came out and said seniors go to the front,” Keyes said. “A lady told me, but I was afraid if I went with her I would have to go back and get in line and it would be much longer.”

A cheerful and very optimistic Anne Macey said she always believed that she would see a black president in her lifetime. “Oh absolutely, I thought that when I was in high school. Anything is possible.”

These elders were optimistic that Barack Obama would become the next president of the United States even though most had grown up in an era in which required literacy tests, poll taxes and the threat of violence prevented African-Americans from voting. But this Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, they planned a celebration.

“I got all my wine glasses and champagne glasses ready,” Macey said. “I got some champagne in my refrigerator.” She said she had apple cider, too.

“We’re going to drink some of that, and then I got something for the people that want a little something-something. But we are going to celebrate.”