Monday, November 10, 2008

Proud, Optimistic... and Excited

According to a Gallup Organization poll taken the day after the voting, two-thirds of Americans are proud and optimistic following Barack Obama’s election. And 6 in 10 say they’re excited.

The "excited" numbers might have been higher had the Gallup people called my house, where several young people in their mid-20s celebrated into the wee hours. There's no way to adequately describe the joy on their tired faces. All those hours spent knocking on thousands of New Hampshire doors, seven days a week, for over a month on behalf of Obama and progressive causes had been worthwhile.

No. 2 son also was among a pretty excited group in Washington, D.C., where thousands surged toward the White House to shout “Yes, we can” and to sing, “Na Na Na, Hey Hey Goodbye” until early the next morning. This was his first election and he'd spent Election Day working at the D.C. polls. Husband No. 1 worked all day at the Portsmouth, NH, polls while I rested my tired fingers after hours of data entry for the Obama campaign (You’d be surprised at how much info the VoteFinder database contains on everyone who’s ever registered to vote).

No. 2 son, meanwhile, said voting was enough for him. Gallup probably wouldn't put him in the excited category. But what about the folks who were included? History and transition of power aside, do you suppose any of them were also excited that the election is finally over?

I never thought I’d be glad to see television ads for Depends and Viagra, but they’re a welcome change from months of campaign commercials about alleged terrorists and economic idiots. A tremendous amount of money was spent to bombard all of us this election season. With two weeks left to go, the campaigns already had purchased $14 million worth of TV ad time from NH’s lone statewide television station, alone. I imagine WMUR is among the TV stations nationwide that are sorry to see an end to those election dollars.

I’m also thrilled to answer the telephone without fear Caller ID failed to reveal another enthusiastic campaign worker reminding me to vote. Gee, really, is there an election? I’m sure I also share the excitement of the U.S. Postal Service to see an end to the volumes of slick campaign literature shoved into mailboxes and weighing down doors.

Friends who volunteered for campaigns also are pleased to no longer have to take direction from people half their age, but with 10 times the energy, asking them to do more. I’m still chuckling about my beyond middle-aged friends who hid in a bathroom and escaped through a side door on election night, rather than face the 20-something campaign manager ordering volunteers to keep working to get out the vote even though the polls were closing in 20 minutes.

The Gallup survey also said less than a third of Americans are feeling pessimistic or afraid.
I wondered about the "afraid” part until I saw news reports that people are rushing into gun shops to buy assault weapons before an Obama administration bans them again. Was that your first thought when you heard the election results – better get out and buy me some Uzis and AK-47s?

When I commented on how crazy that seemed, No. 1 son said he’d heard people talking about it. I asked why anyone needs semi-automatic weapons, especially in peaceful, nearly crime-free NH. For target shooting, he replied. These guys can’t shoot tin cans with a rifle or a handgun? They need to obliterate their targets in a flurry of rapidly fired bullets? That kind of thinking is enough to make anyone afraid.

However, I intend to remain optimistic. Before he announced for president, I heard Barack Obama say in January 2007 that sometimes it's harder to be hopeful. I decided that day that I was tired of being against things and I wanted to be FOR something. The Audacity of Hope. That's what we saw on Election Night 2008. May it continue.

Bonus blog: I blogged about being an Al Blanchard short story contest winner over at -- third item down last I checked.

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