So I spent yesterday evening (starting from 5pm) over at sister Kat’s because Mom invited me over for some good ol’ American fare: hot dogs and chili. We watched the returns off and on until about 8:40, and then I moseyed on back to Rancho Yesteryear.
I’ll admit that I was still a tad pessimistic about the final result up until the point NBC called Pennsylvania for Obama. McCain had made squatting in that state for two solid weeks his winning election strategy, a decision that positively had me flummoxed because even the closest poll had Obama up seven points. I didn’t light the Red Auerbach cigar until the networks called Ohio for President-Elect Barack—that was the moment I knew it was time to stick a fork in McCain.
Anyway, I was puttering around the house this morning—trying to shake a bad case of post-election withdrawal—and was inspired to take computer-in-hand to come up with the Five Nicest Surprises on Election Day:
5) Salon.com’s War Room blog asked readers to submit Election Day stories and after an encounter with a pair of Obama volunteers at Rancho Yesteryear yesterday, I e-mailed an entry to Alex Koppelman (which I also apparently didn’t proofread, since I sound a bit incoherent—or maybe that was the Vodka Rickeys talking) which he put up on the blog. It isn’t particularly witty or spellbinding…but it’s my fifteen minutes of fame. (Mine is the last story in case you don’t want to read the entire entry.)
4) Though it’s unfortunate that the loathsome and repellent Rep. Michelle Bachman (R; or as we like to refer to her around here, “My Favorite McCarthyite”) was able to keep her Minnesota Congressional seat, voters in Colorado sent the equally loathsome and repellent Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R) packing. (As well as NC Rep. Robin Hayes [R] and FL Rep. Tim Mahoney [D].)
3) The Saxby Chambliss-Jim Martin Senate race here in Georgia, as of this posting, appears to be headed for a run-off. While this will mean another punishing four weeks of attack ads (my favorite is when Mama Chambliss describes her son as “a good boy,” leaving me to wonder how she felt about her “good boy” smearing former Sen. Max Cleland in 2002) for my fellow Jaw-Ja bloggers (Linda, Sam, Elisson, Jim Leeds, etc.) it will also mean that Santa is still mulling over my Christmas request.
2) I thought John McCain’s concession speech was both magnanimous and classy. (I wish I could say the same for his supporters present at the time he gave it.)
1) Si se puede!
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.