Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Day for the Books

Today has been a momentous day for our country. The world has been watching us.
This morning Kim and I started by dropping Arianna and Athena off at daycare and then heading to the polls. We arrived shortly after the seven o'clock opening. There was probably around fifty people already there. The wait was not very long.
On accident I voted against Amendment One, which I felt pretty dumb about. Amendment One was to remove a provision that allows the legislature to discriminate against the property rights of legal aliens. The reason it is not a big deal is that Florida has never used that power, and it is very unlikely it ever will. It did not pass anyhow.
Kim cast her ballot first and then I cast mine. The ballots where paper scantrons. You simply bubble in the name and put it through the machine. When I put mine in the machine read that the ballot was read, but jammed. The lady with the key to clear the jam took her time to clear it and a line quickly formed of voters who had voted and needed to submit their entries. Finally the jam was cleared and my vote was in the system.
The act of filling in the bubble for Obama seemed very powerful, yet very simple. I knew that the moment I cast my vote for him I was fulfilling a broken promise of liberty for all Americans. The reasons for this are many. The most obvious is the strong movement forward this is for a mostly stagnant civil rights movement. The gravity of this action goes beyond that. It is a small part of a larger change of the direction of our country. Bush's presidency has been more disastrous than any hardcore liberal ever dream. He didn't just work against liberal values, he systematically worked to destroy America from every facet. He used fear and blind nationalism to destroy our credibility as a free and far country. He destroyed our economy, fought to institutionalize and legalize torture, recklessly gave to the wealthy while leaving the poor to defend for themselves, and worked against any and all positive values of conservative ideology. He was an ideologue and crony. More on all this.
Aurora cast her ballot for Obama, and I think she was pretty proud to.
The event was just surreal. I had voted for Nader the past two elections, and did not expect myself to actually be in a position where our country had a democrat on the ballot with values similar to mine. Growing up in the middle of all the racism I encountered as a grade schooler, I didn't think our country had it in us to nominate a black man with a funny name.
All day long I was giddy about the prospect of the nights results. I was just feeling good all day.
We had dinner tonight at Sue's. Kim and Katie made some eggplant Parmesan that was awesome. At seven, the time of the first poll closing, I turned on the news. It was useless like usual, but my excitement to start consuming election data had to be quenched.
At home we do not have TV. Fortunately the Internet has matured such that one does not need the TV. In Firefox I had, at minimum, the following websites opened in tabs:

  • http://www.npr.org/#/president?view=race08

  • http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/main.results/index.html#

  • https://www.google.com/reader/

  • http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/

  • http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r21376522-Official-election-night-results-tracking

  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home


I also had NPR streaming in Firefox.
McCain's speech was very good. McCain began by highlighting how important this event is for the hopes and dreams of many who have fought hard for civil rights. This received what seemed to be earnest applause from the audience. Then McCain went on to say that we have to move forward and that he would work with Obama to bring about the policies our country needs to strengthen us. McCain's crowd went from gracious to mean spirited. They were interrupting him and being very disrespectful to what must have been a very difficult time for McCain. Many have commented that they wish the McCain that delivered this speech was the McCain that ran for president. This sentiment was echoed across the political spectrum. I mentioned it before I read anyone else said it, so it must have been a universal thought that crossed most people's mind.
Shortly thereafter came Obama's acceptance speech. I discovered C-SPAN's live video stream and watched it, with what was probably a thirty-second delay, streaming on to my computer.
Everything about the speech was good as far as acceptance speech goes. He highlighted his call for change and action. You could tell the crowd was beside themselves in joy. The camera showed Jesse Jackson and Oprah a lot. You would have thought their first daughter was getting married by the look on their faces.
Tonight has been a moment of history. Obama has four years to tackle some very difficult problems. It is probably unreasonable to believe he can tackle them in only four years, but it is his assignment and he fought hard to be assigned the task. I believe if anyone can do it, it is Obama.