Tuesday was a tough day for me. I spent my work day surrounded by people who were one by one going out and voting for McCain. I know only one other co-worker who voted for Obama. I know I shouldn't take it personally. But I do. McCain's "plan" was to continue on the same thing that he thinks actually works. Let the free market regulate itself. Feed everything else to that free market including health care and social security. He's a gambler, like the administration he serves as a lap dog. He stared a broken economy in the face and said "so what ... this plan works". He stood for dirty politics, greed, and broken promises. His tactics for winning were to sling mud at the other guy to win. We can thank Karl Rove for that bullsh*t. Yet, those around me run out and vote McCain. What are those "values" that he holds that are so damned important?
I tried to keep busy Tuesday, and that was easy because there was just too much on my plate. I have been trying to cover for my wife who has been down with a recent knee surgery. Our Orthopedist got a scope into her knee cap last week and declared "she has the knees of an 80 year old". Surgery was not "well" to her. She has a fear of pain pills (both the adverse side effects on her disease, and dependency problems). But she was taking those pills ... and I know it was bad. So I have done well to keep my mind off of the election by getting dirty up to my elbows. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, all that stuff that my loving wife typically does for the family. My hat off to her. It's a lot of work. And on her ailing body, it's even *more* work.
Tuesday night I stopped by the grocery after work to pick up dinner items. I decided that it might be fun to make pizza, which I haven't done in ages. It's serious business for me. I make my own dough, and the whole bit. As I headed up and down the aisles, I stopped off for ... wine! I don't drink alcohol any more. I stopped that years ago. Partly because I adopted Buddhism - and partly because it's expensive and I don't need it. But this night might be celebrated. Might be. I bought a bottle of the best "cold duck" I could find. Alcohol removed, three years aged, dark Merlot. Mmmmmm!
After pizza had been cooked and consumed, it was time to start watching and waiting. My network of choice, Fox News. Hah! Kidding of course. I flipped on MSNBC which I have watched pretty consistently in the past few weeks. A couple of times I would flip to the other networks - but their anchors and special guests were all crap. I just wanted election results on a big wall board. After a couple of hours things were looking ... as expected. McCain and Obama were pretty well tied. My heart was beginning to sink, and I was starting to doubt my fellow Americans.
Do these people really think Obama is a terrorist? Seriously? Fucking idiot sheep.
A socialist? A Marxist? You fucking idiots don't even know who Karl Marx is! And tell me something about socialism. ANYTHING. No? IDIOTS!
Joe the plumber? He makes $40,000 a year and owes back taxes. And he's supporting McCain? Joe - you're a fucking idiot. A vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel? Normally I would laugh at off color remarks like that. BUT YOU IDIOTS ARE SERIOUS. God help us.
Do you think that you can actually buy your own health care plan for $5,000 a year? Have you even LOOKED at what you AND your employer pay for these plans? I HAVE. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
Then something awesome happened. Votes started coming in for Florida and Virginia and it looked like they might be leaning to Obama. I didn't get my hopes up. I've been disappointed before (see 2000, 2004). But then Obama took OHIO. My home state - made the right choice. That was huge. It was big for me because my home state was in serious trouble in 2004 - and it went for Bush anyway. I will never understand what people were thinking. Ohio redeemed itself.
Then came some of the northern states. They were blue. Keith Obormann started doing the math out loud. He noted that if things kept going as the polls had suggested that there was going to be a landslide. I was on the edge of my seat for hours. At about 10:45 it was clear that Obama had won the 270+ needed electoral votes and this election was in the bag.
I was still a little in shock. Camera's placed around the world reflected cheers which rang for nearly ten minutes of open air. There wasn't a dry eye amongst them. Obama had won. WE had won. I slipped downstairs, and poured the wine. My wife didn't drink much. I had to wake her up as she was passed out cold with a couple bags of frozen vegetables on her knee and a good shot of pain killers. We tipped our glasses and watched. Not much was said. There was nothing to say.
About 40 minutes later McCain took the stage to concede. As the camera panned around the audience, I saw a lot of wealthy older white people who were all pretty upset that they couldn't steal another election. At the mere mention of Obama's name, they jeered, shouted, and booed in disgust. He made a few attempts to silence the crowd and noted that his adversary had fought a long hard and honorable fight to the end. But the crowd wouldn't have it.
Then the word came that at midnight, president-elect Obama would speak to the nation. It was a moment I will always remember. In a speech which will mark the ages, Obama told us that we had a lot of work to do. There is a lot that needs to be fixed, and he will need our help. But that this was our day and OUR victory. And it was.
In the aftermath we have a president who I believe will bring this country back together. A president who is all ready assembling a bi-partisan cabinet containing LEADERS with a history of success and progress. WE elected a black man for president. That's a pretty big deal for all generations. The "blacks" didn't elect Obama. WE the country did. Of course there are still those who didn't want him elected. I wonder what they are left to think.
McCain probably thinks he can walk away from this whole mess and let the people figure out that Obama wasn't actually that bad a guy. He just ran with the wrong party. But what are those disenfranchised souls left to think? That the country failed them and voted a terrorist into the white house?
These are dark, dark, times for our little Nation. If anybody is going to lift us out of this mess - it's going to take a leader we can believe in like Obama. It's going to take a lot of money (we're looking at YOU corporate pigs). It's going to take a staff of intelligence and humbled public servants (he's making those calls).
For the first time, in a long time, I look forward to what tomorrow brings. I believe in my country. I'm truly proud to be an American.
The future begins - now.