Tuesday, November 04, 2008


It has been quite remarkable hasn't it? All of this excitement over a Presidential Election? I can't remember a time when the entire country was this energized over politics. I'm too young to remember the Kennedy/Nixon throwdown, but I hear that's the best comparison to what's been going on now.

It's encouraging. It means people care again. We feel like our votes matter. We want our voices heard. We feel there's someone we can connect with.

I actually know people, for the first time in my life, who traveled to nearby battleground states to knock on doors. I know people who made phone calls to undecided voters from their homes. I actually donated hard-earned money to TWO political candidates this year (and I was only related to one of them). People are investing their time and money in politics like never before. Americans are stoked.

I'm watching news coverage now and everywhere in America there are long lines out the door - people prepared to wait for hours to be counted. They're not downtrodden or frustrated - they're upbeat and optimistic. They're proud to finally be fighting for (or against, in many cases) something they sense is big.

And isn't it big? A country that has symbolized opportunity for well over 200 years with an African American poised to become President, or a woman Vice President. History in the making, regardless of who ends up on top. No wonder so many people are turning out to be a part.

As of this morning, nearly everyone I know (well) has voted. I'd guess half of them were Bush supporters at one time who are solidly behind Obama now. People whose combined household incomes may break the Obama tax increase threshold are punching his name because they believe, in principle, with the direction he wants to take this country. Even my dear mom, who once supported the proud isolationist Pat Buchanan (bless her heart), admitted that she "may" have voted for Obama. Now that truly is remarkable.

As for me, I'm just thrilled to see so many people participating. The opportunity for millions and millions of people to select their own leader is one of mankind's greatest accomplishments. It wasn't always like this, remember. The democratic process is a relatively new deal. And we're still working on it.

The early voting thing is proof of that. It's about time they figured out a way to involve more people in the process. Holding elections on a cold, often wet, November day in the middle of the work week probably wasn't the best way to encourage participation. But it served its purpose while it lasted, which was to benefit entrenched power. Sure made it harder for those meddlesome working class people to have a voice. But that voice is being heard now - loud and clear.

As for me, I'm glad the entire thing is finally coming to an end. Or, as I think back to the electoral debacle of 2000, must I ask myself, "Is it?" Let's hope we can avoid a replay of that ugly scene.

At least I didn't make the same mistake this year that I did in 2004 when I found out the "hard" way that the first Tuesday in November is ELECTION day, not erection day. Talk about your embarrassing moments. Officials at the polling place were NOT impressed.

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