Surprisingly Emotional

November 5, 2008 at 10:49 am (Uncategorized)

Over the past few months, I had distanced myself from the election. I knew for whom I wanted to vote, and I knew that my mind wasn’t going to change. I didn’t watch the debates or the interviews. I recognized that those were designed to convince on-the-fence voters. Nothing new would be presented to someone who was already committed to a course of action.

Also, I must confess, I avoided the debates because I am a harsh critic with a physical aversion to double-speak. At the sound of even one lieful stammer, one vacuous sound-byte, one hearty promise of the same-old, same-old, I would’ve covered my ears, screamed, and fled the room (which is hard to do in a studio apartment). It doesn’t matter who said it. I just would not have been able to stand it. And, honestly, I would’ve been terribly disappointed to hear those kinds of things uttered by my candidate of choice. (I am not saying that he did not utter these types of things. I know how political campaigns are run. I am only admitting that I would not have been able to witness such stuff. Pressing the flesh and kissing babies. Gah).

I believe my distance was also part of that thing I do when I want something that might not happen. I try to teach myself how to live without it. Not get too invested in it, because it may never materialize. I knew over the past 2 elections that what I’d seen as the obvious choice was not so obvious to the rest of the country, and it could happen again. I recall the bitterness, disappointment, and confusion I felt waking up on November 5, 2000. Even Amsterdam couldn’t completely cheer me. Perhaps I was trying to shield myself from some of that.

Nevertheless, I did vote. It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I found someone to annoy me. She annoyed everyone, and made the long wait on line more unbearable. But I remembered that some people have had to fight boody revolution for the privilege of standing on a long line in order to cast a vote. The least I could do was tolerate an obnoxious woman.

Somehow, after voting, I managed to forget about the election yesterday. I was immersed in tasks that took me away from the internet and the television, and was able to stay in a news-free bubble for most of the workday. It wasn’t until the drive home that I felt my heart do a little nervous flip (I’ve felt this before–on auditions, on first dates, at job interviews, during my comprehensive exams) at what was at stake that evening.

I still couldn’t watch the election coverage on television. I watched reruns of House instead. I needed to know what was going on, of course, but I needed to control the flow of information somewhat. So, I had the New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC open on my computer at the same time while I IMed with TragicCrusade, shopped for handbags, and played online sudoku. The NYT was strangely conservative in its predictions, and had barely attributed 100 electoral votes to Obama when, on the other extreme, MSNBC had awarded him the entire election.

But, of course, Obama won. And it made me very happy. And, as I was struck by the landmarkedness of this event, I thought about how happy my father would’ve been to see this.

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5 Comments

  1. La Belle Helene said,

    Yes, I was thinking about that this morning, about how Daddy would have reacted to this event. It was a bittersweet thought.

  2. ashyknees said,

    I am surprisingly unemotional right now. This morning, coworkers’ eyes have been red and wet. Friends are saying how great it is that they can tell their children that they really can be anything they want to be, honestly and without hesitation. But the best word to describe my mood is chipper.

    This time around, I volunteered to get out the vote, and I think that really help me cope with the stress of this election. Yeah, I had to talk with a few crackpots, but I also met some cool neighbors and became more familiar with parts of West Philly beyond my comfort zone.

  3. Quiconque said,

    I would also like to take a moment to praise my neighbors. 88% of the voters in the Bronx voted correctly– the highest percentage of any county in New York state. Good job!

  4. Mama Ass said,

    I thought the same thing about my father. Every time I’ve gotten choked up in the last day, I’ve thought about how he would have cried at the importance of this moment. It’s so wonderful.

    And on a practical note, I really believe Obama will do a really good job. He’s such an adult. When I think about the speech he gave last night and then I think about the man in charge for the last eight years, the contrast is so stark.

  5. patrick said,

    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

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