Election Day was long, but worth the wait. My trip to the polls was uneventful. Took about 30 minutes, no ID required (I was already on the list; here in Minnesota we just sign by our name on the list). I was #565 to vote that day (around 11 am), so they were handling about 100 people per hour.
Then the waiting started. I occupied much of the day watching reruns of “The West Wing” on video tape. Also took advantage of the warm temps to apply tung oil to my new windows in the TV room. Took a nap during a lull in the road construction still going on in front of my house. Baked “Stuffed Squash” as a wish for the “squashing” that I hoped would happen in the election . . .
Once the polls started to close I checked in occasionally with CNN, but I have no patience with all the talking heads on TV, so kept watching The West Wing until 9pm when Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert came on Comedy Central with Indecision’08. When the big announcement came at 10pm (CT) I switched over to WGN from Chicago and watched the celebration in Grant Park.
I was thrilled for Barack Obama and his family, relieved that any Republican attempts to steal the election were thwarted, in awe of the accomplishment, and very proud of my country. All of the talking and arm-twisting and cajoling was worth it (for once). I sat back and just absorbed the celebration and the speeches.
The morning after made me realize that this was the first time in my 28 years of voting that I was truly happy with the outcome of an election. I had supported a candidate that I believed in; AND HE WON!!
1980 had elected Reagan. The morning after that one I was so shocked by the outcome that I went into a pretty serious depression (helped along by John Lennon being murdered) for months (maybe years).
The Clinton years were a bit of a relief, but only financially. In terms of social policy, things continued down hill. After saying during the campaign that he would reverse the military’s policy on gays in the military, he almost immediately agreed to the inane “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Later he agreed to “Welfare Reform” that hurt millions of women and their children. And I’m not even mentioning his inability to keep his pants zipped . . .
The Bush years (senior and junior) are still too painful to think about. I was beginning to think that US society had become SO stupid and mediocracy so overwhelming that we would never elect a president who could speak in complete (even eloquent) sentences.
BUT WE DID!!
I’m not really ready to jump from “Yes We Can” to “Yes We Did”. As far as I’m concerned, this is just the first step. The real challenges of “Yes We Can” are yet to come. To fix the financial mess, provide health care to all our citizens, rejuvenate our education system, get out of Iraq, repair the planet, and restore the standing of our country with the world will require work and sacrifice by all of us. At least now (I hope) our government won’t try to brush the problems under the rug and tell us to “go shopping”. Most of us can’t afford to do that anyway.
We will all need to keep remembering “Yes We Can” and work together. I pray that the hole isn’t so deep as to be impossible to crawl out of. May God and the Secret Service protect President-elect Obama and his family. May we all call on the better part of our nature to look to the future.
God Bless Barack Obama
God Bless America