Thursday, November 6, 2008

Politics, what else?

Well, Lone Reader, it’s been a crazy ride. Like so many of you, I was crying throughout the returns. I had a house full of people, all of whom shared their voting stories. When the election was called, I went upstairs to the kids’ rooms. I gently rubbed my sleeping daughter’s shoulder and whispered in her ear, “Barack Obama is going to be our next president.” “She groggily sat up and murmured, “Yay…” before collapsing back into sweet slumber. I’m pretty sure my son would’ve had a similar reaction, if he could’ve been roused from his deep sleep.

Unlike everyone I talked to, I didn’t love McCain’s concession speech. Yes, it was gracious, but the structure of it bugged me. (Always the editor, I am.) (No, you’re not. – Ed.) It WAS a historic night, as we know, but I think the references to America’s entrenched racism should’ve been after the congratulations for Obama, the reference to Toot and the acknowledgment of the hard campaign. To me it’s not unlike the NBC cameras at Spelman College all night. Yes, this is an extraordinary, historic moment that has been a long time coming. I definitely agree. But millions of Americans were brought together in this election. Obama wasn’t elected because he is black. He was elected because he is the right man at the right time. The fact that he is African American is momentous, but not why he is our President-Elect.

Obama’s speech was simply breathtaking. Filled with hope, gratitude and strength, just like his amazing campaign. I sobbed my way through it. This campaign has changed the way politics is done in America – the vast majority of his donors were under $100. The internet wasn’t treated like an ATM, but a true organizing tool. And when did you ever hear a president include the word “gay” in an acceptance speech? (Not since Millard Fillmore in 1850.) Sad, sad, sad to think that while our President-Elect was speaking about dignity of all, many Californians were deciding that bigotry is acceptable.

There were several heartbreaking races tempering the elation of the evening. For some unknown reason, Michelle Bachmann (she of Bachmann Crazy Overdrive) was re-elected. My beloved Al Franken is likely going to be defeated by 1/400th of a percent when the recount is all said and done. In the MN House, district 37A turned from a hard-working, passionate Democrat to a 24-year-old Republican neophyte.

On the plus side, Minnesotans voted to add the Legacy amendment to the constitution, with a slight sales tax increase now the environment and the arts will now have some additional dedicated funding. I argued passionately with a state senator about this amendment in March of this year. He said this the amendment is basically an end-run around the Legislature. I replied, “Damn right – if you don’t have the backbone to do it, someone’s got to. We’ve tried it your way for a decade now and it’s gotten us nowhere. This is a much harder road for us, but clearly something must be done.” I didn’t convince him, but the people have now spoken and many quintessentially Minnesotan joys will be at least partially protected. (No word yet on whether Surly Furious qualifies, but it should.)

And this morning, Sarah Palin arrived back in the last frontier, being coy about her ambition to run for Prez in 2012. Am I dreaming or is that the best xmas gift ever?

Thanks for the read, groovy ghoulie, and see you in the new normal.

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