Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

A New Day in America

Wow, what a week it’s been!  So many winners and losers, but let’s get right to the point.  BARACK OBAMA is our President!  After so much work, phonebanking, cavassing, talking to friends and family about the vote, registering new voters, America finally did the right thing and turned the page on the status quo.

I watched the returns at home with my family, in front of the TV with my laptop plugged in next to me to get more information as needed.  Flipping between CNN and MSNBC, we saw the “hologram” and the “virutal room” toys deployed by those networks.  It was very exciting to watch, especially as the scenes from Grant Park in Chicago started coming in.  Hundreds of thousands of people, all dancing, laughing and then crying for joy when the announcement came: Barack Obama will be our nation’s 44th President.

It was like a miracle.

Then the world reaction came in, and there was so much to celebrate!  After all we have been through in the last 8 years, American has finally started back on the road to redepmtion in the eyes of the world.  I’m so glad to see it happen.

Victories for Democrats in places like Virginia and North Carolina.  Increases in our Senate and House majorities.  Jeff Merkley won his US Senate race in Oregon, after a long wait for the final counts.  He’s going to do a great job for Oregonians.  We have new Democrats in office for Secretary of State- Kate Brown and Treasurer- Ben Westlund, not to mention Labor Comissioner Brad Avakian.  Our local races were mostly successful, with a few disappointments in Tualatin and Wilsonville house races.  The best part was that every single one of Bill Sizemore’s measures failed at the ballot box yet again.  This man and his backers have got to learn that Oregonians are on to their scam, and they’re wasting their money up here.

Once again, Oregon’s Vote-By-Mail system was hailed as state of the art.  After seeing people having to stand in line for 8-10 hours to cast their vote, how can we not see this as a poll tax?  The system needs to be fixed, and it’s not the only one. I was sad to see Heather Ryan lose her bid for US House seat KY-01.  She was a great candidate, and I hope she stays in KY politics.  They need more rabblerousers down there!

I’m hoping healthcare will stay at the top of Obama’s to-do list once he’s in office.  There are people out there dying and in pain for want of healthcare right now.  Children going without necessary medicines and treatment.  Families bankrupted by the greedy insurance lobby who just want more, more, more.  It has to stop now.

So much to do for the new President and his staff.  I’m watching the news for all the transition info and cabinet appointments, just as eagerly as I watched for election news last month.  Obama’s staff is already planning a big overhaul of the White House web site, which will hopefully provide more opportunities for Americans to interact effectively with their government.

Today, the Obamas went to the White House to meet with the Bushes for a tour and private meetings.  Everyone I talk to is so glad to see a young family in the White House again.  There will be kids everywhere, especially when Joe Biden brings his family over for a visit!  I know some of you might find this shallow, but I love following Michelle Obama’s fashions, and what the girls are wearing too.  I’m looking forward to every bit of detail we can get about Michelle’s plans for decorating the Residence in the White House, and the fashions for January’s inaugural parties.  I want to see Malia and Sasha settle in comfortably in their new home, and start school in DC with the same high standards they’ve been put to all their lives in Chicago.

There’s going to be so much on their plates in crafting a whole new kind of government.  I think we’ll be seeing things from an Obama Administration in ways we never thought possible before.

It is a new day in America, and I’m so happy to see it!

Standing at the edge of history

I cannot sleep.  Today is election day, Nov. 4, 2008.  The first polls in NH have already run their course- overwhelmingly for Obama.  I have been phonebanking for the last couple of days to CO and VA, urging voters to get out to the polls.  I spoke with so many who were excited about the chance to vote for change with Obama.  Only a couple were voting for McCain, and they didn’t sound too happy about it.  One man said he felt sorry for me for supporting Obama, right before he hung up on me.

There is the feeling that we are all standing at the edge of a great cliff, holding hands with millions of others, just waiting for our cue to jump.  Upon making that great leap of faith, we will discover we have all sprouted wings.  Our wings will allow us to carry others with us to reach new heights for America.

We are taking our country back, after such a long road of deceit, lies and obsfucation for so many years.  Our opportunity to make changes that will forever alter the path of America is before us.  Millions of people all over the world are counting on us to make the right choice on this fateful day, for their fate is entwined with our own.  We are voting not only for ourselves, but for our children, our grandchildren, our neighbors, our families.  We are voting for our allies and our enemies- that we will treat both with the respect they deserve.  We are voting for those who can’t vote, and for those who can but can’t get to the polls or stand in line for 10+ hours to cast their vote.

The fact that voting in many states involves such a commitment of time and physical stamina is in itself a poll tax.  How do people who cannot take time off work cast their vote?  How do people who cannot afford the additional childcare, the transportation, the time away from their job, or risking loss of their job altogether manage to vote?  How do the elderly and disabled who cannot stand in line for 10+ hours be able to vote?  Simply stating that the absentee vote is their substitute is not enough.   Those absentee votes are not reliably counted or included in final vote totals, as we saw in 2000 and 2004.

A better system is needed- I support Vote-By-Mail.  This system has been in use in Oregon for 10 years now, with nary a problem.  Voter turnout is outstanding.  The system is simple and effective, and open to everyone.  Now, if only we could couple that with instant voter registration, we’d be home free!

As I said before, we are on the edge of history.  I will be home with my family tonight, watching the returns come in.  We were invited to attend the Big Democratic Party event downtown, but the crowds are just too much for us.  We’ll celebrate at home, with cake and champagne, and a big box of Kleenex when we listen to Obama’s acceptance speech.

It will be history right before our eyes, and I can’t wait!