Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did!

I know I won't soon be forgetting November 4, 2008 and neither will my daughter. Somewhere on here I've posted about November, 2000 when she and I watched Florida get taken from Gore's column and listed as a toss up. At that very moment I lost all faith in the American electioneering system. Hanging chads in Florida elected George W Bush. And then came Ohio in 2004 and here again came George W Bush.

Since I didn't vote in 2006, yesterday I found myself having to re register. I was totally shocked at the length of the line I would now get to stand in in order to vote. I thought long and hard about voting, but then there came all those memories from previous years, and I decided I would stick it out. It took me an hour and forty minutes to cast my vote.

I stood in line with people I didn't know and found myself in the most interesting conversations where we talked about everything except who we were voting for. When another woman and I had made it to the front of the line, a octogenarian with a walker came through the door and I instantly offered her a place in front of us--old training hard to break.

My new friend was a nano second behind me in extending the same offer, which the woman accepted, if even with a little embarrassment. I told her not to worry, as I was pretty sure I would cancel out her vote. People cracked up around us, and the mood of the line lightened.

After voting I called my daughter and warned her what she was in for. She had to work all day, and so would be in line with the end of the work day crowd. For her, and two of our other young friends, the wait was slightly over two hours. She finally made it over to my house to watch the election returns with a great deal of pride and her own stories.

Before I left to vote, I had seen video of the long lines across the nation, but never ever considered the fact I myself might also stand in such a line. This is Montana. I got introduced to the new Montana.

Although McCain eventually won here, his narrow margin of victory, and the fact our democratic senator won by some 75%, amply demonstrates that Montana is no longer a sure thing for Republicans. It would have been nice to see Montana turn blue, but it was really encouraging to see Indiana stay yellow, and Virginia, and North Carolina, and stay that way until 8:00 pm when the west coast polls closed and all hell broke loose in my little house. Yes, we did! Start the cell phone calls and text messages.

This morning I viewed the reaction around the world and saw more smiles and more hope in more countries, bringing home to me again, just how much the neocons had destroyed the world's hope in America.

Standing in line for a hour and forty minutes, more or less just to cancel the vote of an octogenarian, also drove home to me how much the neocons had destroyed my hope in America. I also understood then, that hope is hard to totally kill. I obstinately stuck it out. Yes, I did!
And so did my daughter and her friends, and so did millions of other Americans. Yes, we did!

And so 2008 was not a repeat of 2000, and 2004, and those obstinate yellow states finally did turn blue. Yes, they did.

Now I'm waiting for the results of prop 8 in California, and not with much hope. In spite of last night's landslide victory for a black man whose mandate crosses all lines, it looks like gays are still on the outside looking in. The last minority with out equal rights. The last minority for whom the religious right can still use as a wedge to separate us and divide us. Yes, they can.


  1. Yeah!

    and now ... judgement day begins - judgement day for the Vatican and the bishops who were so hateful in their condemnation of Obama.

    I wonder what they will do now?

  2. The neocons really did destroy a lot of hope. That is why they lost this election. Obama's win represents the will people have to make this a better world. "Yes, we can" can turn into "Yes We Did."

    Yes we can change our government from the bottom up. Yes we can call our government officials accountable when they serve not in the interest of The People. Yes we can make this a country in which we can be proud of. Obama helped make this possible. His voice captured the conscience of this country and mobilized it into a force for change.

    I am proud today to be an American, and I couldn't say that easily in the Bush Administration years that brought us an unjust war in Iraq, condoned torture and denied basic constitutional rights to prisoners of war.

    My very flag has changed before my eyes with the election of Obama. Its meaning is deeper and has more equality, care and love in it than it had the day before. It has more substance that I can connect with and I believe the rest of the world can connect with also.

    As I watched the crowds in Chicago last night cheering for Obama, I could not help but notice the many black people with tears streaming down their faces. This was more than an election for a President. This was in a very real way the country living up to its original purpose and design, that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights. It was saying to the world, we are not hypocrites. We are in solidarity with the suffering and the poor. We are here for you. But if you are destructive and want to tear us down, beware. We are The People and we have chosen our leader for the next four years. Like McCain said, I wish Obama "Godspeed."

  3. Colleen, thanks for obstinately sticking it out, and reminding us that hope is hard to kill. Hearing your story revives my own hopes.

    It is a stubborn little beggar, that feathered thing that sings inside us.

  4. The expected passing of Prop 8 really is a shadow on this election. It was so hard, Tuesday night, to have one victory and one loss. I didn't sleep. It was terrible.

  5. i can't help thinking it's awesome that there has been such long lines all over... people taking a greater interest in public issues is always a good thing