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!


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