09 November 2008
Two bloggers on opposite sides of the globe had posts about the election night here in the good ole U S of A that made me stop and reflect for a moment.
A Kiwi blogger whom I adore asked her readers...where were you when you heard? Much like the cultural milestones of where you were when you heard of the assassination of JFK (not born yet), when you heard that Princess Di had passed away (in front of my TV at home, I woke to it on a crawl across the bottom of the screen) when you found out about 9/11 (working for ye olde evile bank, and worried to death for a friend who is a flight attendant) she thinks that Obama's election might, in time, come to garner the same question.
It was another Yankee blogger who had a map from the New York Times that showed an amazing shift from red to blue. Much more than red states vs blue states, this breaks it down by county, and shows a nearly completely blue map. I'm astonished at the shift in the republican vs democrat numbers, look at those percentage differences!
I was at home on election night, reading more of Duma Key by Stephen King, DH sound asleep beside me. (That book is still scaring the crap out of me.) I turned the television on around 9 PM, with the sound off so as not to wake him, and surfed between CNN, NBC, ABC and Headline News. I can't watch Fox News even without sound. When I turned it off to try to get some sleep, the count was 199 to 69 on CNN, and 124 to 90-something everywhere else.
About two hours later, I woke up thirsty and starving, and went to find some small thing to eat. On my way back to bed, I stopped and turned the TV on in our loft, closing the door so I could watch for a minute with some sound. When the channel tuned in (it takes a sec on the TV in the loft) my stomach flopped when I saw the electoral college numbers had shot to over 300 for Obama and weren't that much higher than they had been two hours earlier for McCain.
I felt like maybe I'd had the wind knocked out of me. I had very high hopes leading in to the election for just exactly that result, but I wasn't sure it would turn out this way. Just because I hoped hard, that didn't mean much.
I left it on and continued to watch until President-Elect Obama took the stage at Grant Park in Chicago with his wife and daughters and made his speech. Call me an old cornball, but when they came out together, holding hands and their little girls skipping, I burst into tears. I continued to sob my way through the rest of his speech. I've watched it a few more times on YouTube, hell, I posted it here, too, and I'm still getting chills every time I watch it.
My favorite line might be the bit about how the victory belongs to the people. Or maybe the the line about how 2 centuries later, this remains a government of, for, and by the people. Or the line about the enduring power of our ideals. I haven't felt that way for eight long years; I've felt like my voice has been ignored.
I've told people (regarding W) "He isn't MY president." That's grossly unfair, I know. The president is the president, is the president, whether or not you voted for him or agree with him. I know. The thing about W, though, besides the fact that I think he's not the brightest bulb in the box, or besides the fact that he didn't win the 2000 presidential election, he had the presidency handed to him by judges beholden to his dad, and besides the fact that he's led in the wrong direction for so long is that I disagreed with almost everything he's done as president. (No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)
I'm sure that I won't agree with everything that President Obama does; I certainly didn't agree with everything Bill Clinton did. There are some very un-reasonable expectations for his presidency. We aren't known for being the most...um...patient of people. I'm sure that if the economic situation doesn't improve soon, he'll be in for a terrible few months. But I am so full of hope. So sure that things will get better. I hope I'm right.