To be honest, politics has left a bad taste in my mouth since the evening of the 2000 campaign where my friend sat up in my college dorm room all night picking a louse (yes, just one) and its nits out of my hair (she had accidentally spread an outbreak in our overnight read-a-thon that weekend), while we were glued to CNN. Every 10 minutes they would say "Bush has won!" and then "We can't determine it!" and then "Gore may claim a victory!" and then "Nope, we're still idiots down here in Florida who have no idea how to design or count a ballot!"
It was a very bipolar evening. It was my first election ever voting. I voted for Nader. (I'm from Maryland. The Dems ALWAYS win Maryland by a landslide. However my grandmother from Florida did almost disown me when she found this out.) My roommate and I plotted the death of Bush before he could even assume office, thus forcing an emergency election rather than having the VP (I shudder to mention his name) take over. Obviously, we failed to execute our plan...
Which brings me to this year...
I was excited by the primary. I wanted Clinton to win. She is an AMAZING politician (yes, that includes both the negative and positive connotations of that word). She's smart. She's awesome. And yeah, I like the idea of a woman in office (note to Republicans: a COMPETENT woman please).
Thing is, I was also thrilled with Obama. He oozes charisma. He's idealistic. His resume reads like a dream for being groomed for the office of president. And yeah, I like the idea of a black man in office.
On the issues, they were pretty close to identical, just different emphases.
I was, at that time, highly concerned about the national electability of either candidate. I thought as far as the race/gender issues were concerned, America was probably more ready for a black man than it was for a white woman, but (and I'm really glad it didn't come to this) Republican campaigns are not usually known for their uprightness and honesty. Case in point: since the 2004 election people STILL believe a Texas oil millionaire's son was one of the "regular guys" and a middle class fellow who put himself through law school was an elitist snob born with a silver spook in his mouth. (The middle of the country also seems to believe that the last election was mainly about gay marriage--failing to notice we were ENGAGED IN WAR at the time of the election. Hello, people!) Hence a person whose name happened to rhyme with the most despised known terrorist might be even more subject to the evil low-brow ploys of the campaign machine.
Furthermore, as far as McCain goes, he was by far the most palatable candidate that the Republican party has put forth in the last 50 years or so. I may have disagreed with many of his policies and plans, but I think he would have made a fine president. (His running mate is a whole other story...)
So when it was McCain vs. Obama I was hopeful about Obama's chances, but not dreadfully optimistic.
But as October came around and his polls were still steadily in his favor, I started to think that my hesitant Obama nay-saying (in my head, as I know out loud it could have been detrimental to the campaign... I learned my lesson when I called the Kerry/Bush fiasco of 2004 back in March of that year, and it played out PRECISELY as I said it would), might actually be incorrect. Could we win? Could we have the first president of my adult life that I could be PROUD of?
And today, my American brethren have proved that they can be trusted a little more than I thought they could.
Just not the people from Texas (ahem, William).
Biggest (happy) surprises:
* Virginia, Florida, and Ohio going pretty solidly for Obama.
* Homeless folks turning out in record numbers to vote.
* North Carolina being too close to call with Obama leading by just over 12,000 as of right now.
* McCain conceding, no fight, before California was called.
* The stock market is optimistic because of the vote.
I cheered in the staff room when it was announced right after lunch. The Korean staff seemed bemused by my elation. I was surprised I was as happy as I was. I guess I really wasn't so apathetic about this election after all. Even if I was too lazy to turn my absentee ballot in on time, so I failed to vote.
Yay for live-action history.