Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oh Happy Day

I’ve voted in eight presidential elections, and I’ve never been as excited about any of them as I was yesterday. Not even close. At times in the past, it’s felt like I was supporting the lesser of two evils, or the best of an uninspiring lot. Yesterday, I was thrilled to vote for a candidate who reflects my values in almost every way. From a foreign policy that values diplomacy and international cooperation over unnecessary war, to more reasonable economic and healthcare policies, to protecting the environment, to securing human rights (women’s rights, gay rights, reproductive rights), I believe that Barack Obama will be able to make real progress and deliver meaningful reform. He has intelligence and integrity. To say I feel hopeful is an understatement.

So I went to the polls yesterday at 7 a.m. feeling downright giddy. Considering the national polls, I was expecting to find at least a few Spotsylvanians feeling equally chipper. Not so, at least not at Chancellor Elementary School. From the looks of those glum people, you’d have thought they were on line to view the casket at a funeral. Okay, maybe it was too early in the morning, or maybe they just wanted to get the task over with so they could get to work on time, but I was disappointed that I didn’t see even one person with a broad smile or a spring in the step. Maybe what one worker manning the Democratic table told me is true, that this is the most Republican area of Spotsylvania, already a thoroughly Republican county.

So by the evening, I was looking to spend some time watching election returns with a happy group. I started the evening at Kybecca’s wine bar (my first visit since they’ve opened the indoor bar), where people were enjoying themselves, but in a pretty muted way. Probably the email promising a respectful atmosphere where all viewpoints would be welcome had something to do with that. And between 7 and 7:45 pm, there really wasn’t that much in the way of returns to get too worked up over. With only 2 states counted, the night was young.


But by 8, I was looking for a little partisan merriment, so headed over to Foster’s Grille in Stafford to hang out with the Stafford Democrats. Now that was a great party, with whooping and hollering over every tiny Democratic gain. I’ve never gone to an election returns party before, but now I know where to find a good one. Thanks, Stafford Dems, for letting this Spotsylvanian get in on the fun.

These photos say it all:


Kenneth said...

I managed the voting machines at Chancellor Elementary yesterday (white shirt, brown tie) and am pleased to report that I talked to a number of excited voters, including many old and young first-time voters. There was a fair amount of disengagement as well, but I found that most voters were happy to have their voices heard, at least by the time they got to the machines. If you as interested in the data as I am, the state Board of Elections has provided a lot, down to the precinct level. Your precinct did skew more heavily Republican than many in the county (Obama actually won a few precincts).

If you don't mind sharing, I'm curious how your experience was with our election officers at your precinct. I don't know if I'll be able to work the next election, but this was my first and I'd like to know if we could do better.

Merry N said...

Hi, Kenneth, thanks for the comment. I'm glad you encountered some lively voters. Admittedly, I was in line for a surprisingly short time, just about 15 minutes, so I didn't catch a very broad sampling of people.

The link to the Spotsy precincts vote breakdown was very interesting. I see that the Brock district beats out Grange Hall for most Republican by a good margin, at least this go-round. Almost 74% for McCain, in an election when the Republican incumbent president has the lowest approval ratings in decades! Now that's Republican!

As for the actual voting process, it went very smoothly (as it always does at this polling place), and the election officers did a great job. The lines moved pretty quickly, helped along no doubt by the ballot being fairly simple, without any wordy local initiatives to decipher.

dearoldmom said...

Obamas acceptance speech was the best. There was a party tamosphere in Wilton. That is because we are a small town and you get to see all the neighbors. I went early and it was not crowded. I wished i had an excuse to stay.Also my neighbor Steve is the Recreation Director at Gavin Park where we voted and it was fun to see the magig he created.

Anonymous said...

A few quotes from a true Libertarian that wants less government and isn't a fan of John McCain or Barack Obama.

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"

Perhaps the above is one of the values you and Mr. obama share.

A democrat executive, house, and senate -

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
-- Benjamin Franklin


"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."