I could not sleep at all last night. Well, granted I did not actually try to, I was writing [yes!] and glued to the tube from about 10p.m. to 1 a.m. Then I was restless and excited and wished i was in Chicago or at least at the local campaign office celebrating. I surfed around, tried to work on the novel some more, and then I wrote a blog over at NaBloPoMo at about 3.a.m EST when I should have been sleeping. I have spent most of the daylight hours trying not to be too cranky with the kids while virtually celebrating with online friends and just taking it all in. Not that it is January 20, 2009 yet, but it is definitely a new year today.
I tried not to get too political on this blog during the election, because even though I am a bit of a political junky irl, i also respect everyone’s right to have their own opinions and make their own choices. There is no one perfect candidate for everyone and frankly, I was with Clinton until June when she conceded. By then I was also impressed with the dynamic figure that is Barack Obama. So I did what I usually do: I read, researched and listened. He truly is a leader who inspires movement, action and joy, and not only in certain demographics. Look how much has changed already.
I will admit that a part of me almost voted for the Green Party just out of sheer pleasure at seeing it on the ballot. At one point in my life I said I would vote for them if I ever had the chance. Not only did Virginia go Democrat for the first time in 44 years [!] but they also listed Independent parties for the first time ever. [BTW: I wish people would stop calling them all “third-parties” b/c there are like 20 minor parties, and they are pretty much completely different from each other]. I also admit that the feminist in me just plain old loved the fact that Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente were the first female candidates to head their party in a majority of states in a presidential election. Talk about a change. Yes, I actually considered voting for them just because they were women, so maybe McCain had something there…But, no, I am enough of a feminist not to be swayed from my vote by gender. And though I generally support the Green Party’s platform, I also can see that when you have a natural-born leader ready, with support and ideas, motivation, intelligence and power, the time is right for us to unite and work together.
There is one man I can say who has influenced my decision more than any pundit, politician or producer. His name is Al Gore. He should have been the POTUS at the dawn of this century when a corrupt election stifled the voters’ voices. But not all of them; Al Gore needed us to support him then, but he had a very different campaign than the one we have just witnessed. He either was not the leader we really needed then [not my opinion] or he was just meant to lead us in different ways and directions, as he is now doing. Either way, or any other way [we cannot after all go back only forward] that election affected me more than any other.
I lived in Florida in 2000 and I did not vote. That is something I have to live with for the rest of my life, [ my “reason” involves many details including an ugly divorce], and though it may be true that my one vote would have still left him 536 votes short, in my mind it was proven that every vote does count. I saw the results coming in that Election night, and I saw the ‘projection” for Florida go to Gore. When I woke up the next day, the sky had fallen. I have not missed an election since then, national, state or local. And I never will again.
Once again, I can see that our Election system, as imperfect as it may be, does matter and does, in most ways, work. Though maybe Obama did not need my one vote this time around, he did need our collective support, which he was able to garner through his own work and determination, not to mention the timing that put him on that path when we needed a real change from our nation’s downward spiral. I am not going to get too righteous and say that it does not matter what the color of his skin is, because though I fully uphold that the content of his character and his intellectual, amiable and powerful leadership experience are what brought him to this point and will lead us out of the hole we have dug, I do also believe that his biracial and multicultural background does matter, not only historically and politically, but culturally as well. When I look at our President-elect, I see America. A country and a people which have grown from a mixture of races and nationalities, immigrants and citizens, educators and explorers. He has the advantage of understanding the point of view of many citizens, classes and communities, literally from sea to shining sea. And now, he and Biden and their Cabinet, along with many newly elected local leaders have a lot of work to do to repair damage done. So do we. We cannot stop now, either. In fact, we should be more motivated than ever because we proved that when we really want to do something right and good for the country, we can.