November 4, 2008. 9:20 a.m.

Just got home from voting. It's a small precinct, racially and economically mixed (lots of big McMansions and lots of apartments inhabited mostly by college students. About fifty people in line, which is what I expected. I was in and out in 25 minutes; again, just what I expected. (After I blackened my bubble for Obama-Biden, I did a little fist pump and prayed: "Yes, we can.")

What I did not expect was -- the quiet. Usually my polling place is noisy with chatter as friends run into friends and neighbors see neighbors. Not this time. Almost no talking. Not even any cell phone chatter.

My conclusion? My neighbors, all of them -- black, white, Asian, young, old, Republican, Democrat -- understood that this is a pivotal moment in our nation's history. Understood that every vote, every voice mattered. In that silence, I found optimism: that when this is over we will -- all of us -- join hands and rescue the republic from the sorrow that has fallen upon it. I hope that my neighbors voted today for hope -- but regardless of what happens, I am now more confident that we can and will move forward.