Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election day: pigtails, tears, awe

I took my kids to vote today. I've heard stories about people standing in line for hours, but at the senior citizens' center down the street there were no lines, no Black Panthers, no lawyers I could identify as such. Just elderly civic-minded ladies manning the polls, and a few of us civic-minded citizens. The girls had red, white and blue ribbons on their pigtails (we dug out the Fourth of July stuff), and the poll workers couldn't stop telling them how adorable they were.

In Massachusetts we vote using oversized Scan-Tron sheets, which makes me feel like I'm back in high school taking a test, and also makes me miss the more balloty-feeling punch cards I had in California. Here's the thing, though: as I was standing in my little semi-private voting carrel, I had a rush of patriotic pride (huh? me? wow) and my eyes welled up with tears as I bent over the paper. I had to blink the tears back to make sure I was really filling in the circle next to "Obama/Biden," and had this overwhelming feeling of being a drop of water in a massive wave of change, which I'm still getting a little choked up over.

And then I went to the library, where The Audacity of Hope finally came in (I've been on quite the waitlist), and I got choked up over that, too.

Stayed up way too late watching election results (I realized as soon as Fox News called Ohio for Obama that I could probably go to bed, but didn't). I watched McCain's concession speech — the best political speech I've ever heard in my life, and the most heartfelt I've heard him in the last year — and cried more. Watched Obama's speech, thought about that wave of change again, cried even more.

Agree with me; disagree with me; I don't care. I voted for someone I believe will infuse hope into our quite-jaded view of all things political, someone I hope will be able to bring about even a smidgen of the change and purpose he advocated in his campaign. I'm deeply moved at the thought that our individual voices or stylus punches or filled-in ovals mean something, and I'd defend your right to vote your conscience whether or not it agrees with mine. I was trying to explain the concept of democracy to the girls in the car (got pretty sticky when I realized my encapsulated American Revolution story was encouraging disobedience among the pint-sized ranks) and it just got to me how cool this all is.

Three best quotes of the evening:
  • On BBC World News, an American commentator who said something along the lines of, "This should silence the people who are still saying America is a racist country," and then turned to one of the other talking heads and added, "Right?" Silence.

  • Karl Rove, on Fox (Scott got to drive the remote last night): "Every American ought to be celebrating tonight." Well said. Unexpected, but well said.

  • Fox's Juan Williams: "This is truly an incredible moment of American history.... I don’t care how you feel about him politically, on some level you have to say this is America at its grandest, the potential, the possibility, and what it says for our children. Black and white, the image of Barack Obama and those little girls in the Rose Garden in these years to come. I think it’s just stunning."

Wow. Wow. I'm so proud of my country right now. So hopeful for the next four years.


Danika said...

I love your patriotism! But I can't help but ask with all the crying and all... are you pregnant? I'm just sayin'!

Sarah Kay said...

I cried too, and I'm definitely not pregnant.

Reggs said...

I am content, and it is true that the entire world is watching him! I am not really comfortable with the "democratic runaway train", with the senate and house being controlled by the democrats.
However, I will support this president! It is great to see the entire nation embrace him (including Fox news).

Alex said...

I totally cried too. I cried again just reading your blog tonight and remembering it all. I am so glad to know one more friend of mine voted for Obama and is also LDS. I think I was the only one in Nevada. :(

Jessie said...

awesome post Libby. sigh... I have definitely gotten emotional during Obama's speeches, and even during that wonderful half hour of time he bought a week before the election. Especially the end "I am not a perfect man, i will not be a perfect President"... and then showing B&W pictures of him with people, and at the capitol...

oh my.. and the Audacity of Hope was really good too.