Chicago- When I arrived downtown at 2 pm, it was surreal to see fast-talking vendors selling Barack Obama victory T-shirts on every street corner, just like they would before a big game.
By midnight, Obama had clinched the election, and I actually saw someone hanging out a car window yelling, "Cubs win! Cubs win!" and the illusion was complete.
As I stood in Grant Park with hundreds of thousands of fervent Obama supporters, it was hard not to wonder if all the rhetoric might be true. Was I, a Canadian interloper in Obama-land, about to witness the birth of a new America? Was a younger, more vital force taking over the country?
The evening's soundtrack was certainly geared toward a younger generation. Moments before Obama made his first speech as president-elect, marijuana smoke drifted over the crowd and the rally's organizers piped the National's Fake Empire through the sound system.
I could only imagine indie hipsters across the country choking on their cans of PBR in disbelief.
Young Jeezy's latest hit had practically become a folk song overnight, its refrain of "My president's black, my Lambo's blue" being chanted enthusiastically by many of Chicago's newly empowered.
There were of course many incredible moments in the park. I saw a black woman literally fall to her knees when the results were announced. Families wept and hugged each other.
A group of people in formal evening wear joined the crowd on Michigan Avenue and toasted passersby with champagne. As we flooded out of the park, every few minutes thousands of people erupted in spontaneous applause, cheered on by revellers hanging from balconies.
But while Obama has raised people's hopes and expectations for national politics, mingling with the crowd on Tuesday night proved to me that he's also changed its style.
On the bus heading home, I couldn't help but be bemused by my fellow passengers. If this is the new, young face of American politics, the leaders of tomorrow look like they're on their way home from a Wilco concert: young, hip and fashionable in their two-toned Obama T-shirts and earthy cardigans. Everyone around me kept getting text messages thanking them for voting.
The next four years will hopefully prove that political change is for real, and not just the latest fashion.