Saturday, November 08, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How I Felt Like a Delegate to a Kind of Global Electoral College

Sure, I've had voter apathy in the past. I can't remember the first time I voted, and I know I've stayed home from the polls for some elections. Not this year. I stood in line for about an hour Tuesday morning, starting at 6:55 am, then cast my vote for Obama. A week before, I had asked someone who's far more politically savvy than me "Why vote in DC, when I know that the city's Electoral College votes will go to Obama?" He said, "Because we need to show how much we believe in him by turning out in incredible numbers. It'll look so much better with a high number of votes."

Or something like that. I agreed. And then I read something in BusinessWeek yesterday:

"Polls showed that in countries such as France and Germany, support for the Democratic candidate ranged between 65% and 80% of the population. The sense of engagement was typified by an editorial appearing early this year in Belgian newspaper De Standaard suggesting that given the stakes—on issues ranging from energy to climate change to the mortgage crisis—everybody in the world should be able to cast a vote in the U.S. Presidential election."
Europe Reacts to Obama Victory, Andy Reinhardt, 11/05/08

But not everyone in the world could vote in this election. Which made my vote count even more, considering the nature of today's problems (and the huge role the U.S. has played in causing a good number of them). So, for a brief moment, I felt like a delegate to a kind of global electoral college, which made my responsibility take on new meaning and weight.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Scene Just Blocks from the White House

My neighborhood erupted at 11:00 last night, about 10 blocks north of the White House. Closer than you think, since I can see the executive mansion just a few steps from my door. As soon as the California polls closed and the networks exploded with their news, people yelled, whooped, cheered, their voices echoing in the alley behind my building. The noise got louder a few minutes later, as residents left their buildings the bars and restaurants in spite of the rain and car horns blared up and down 16th street. That's what I saw in my head, as I didn't move - the TV kept me glued in my living room - the TV and my laptop where I had the NYTimes, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC open in Firefox tabs. What was it - 15 minutes later - that the report came over the wires - McCain had conceded to Obama. I could see on TV that scores of GW students converged on the White House, pumped by the history and eager to let the current resident know that his terrible occupancy is not only over, it's finished with a blast of everything missing over the last eight years - including eloquence, intelligence, and unyielding hope.

Around 1 am I went outside. The rain was a drizzle, the car horns split the air, people on the sidewalks high-fived each other. I called my brother in New Hampshire, and held the phone to 16th street, in sight of the White House, leaving a message that was mostly street noise.
Check out these stunning pictures at the Boston Globe's site, which I found thanks to

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Few Moments of Calm

7PM. Polls are closing. I need a few moments of calm:

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I Am Jack's Disappointment

I watched Fight Club (again) last night - and this quote stood out, for me, at this mid-life reassessment time in my life:

"We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."

So, yeah, I understand a bit where Tyler Durden's coming from. Although I don't believe in taking the film literally - I have no desire to fight anyone, much less support anarchy. The flick is some sort of great movie, but not a manifesto for modern living. Although Making soap sounds kind of fun.

For a more conventional view that mirrors the quote above, and my current state, check out this post from Life Two - The Midlife Resource. I've pulled the following quote that helps drive the point home:

" of the great challenges of surviving the midlife transition derives from the sense of profound disappointment that comes when you realize that most of the assumptions that you had about 'success' in your early adult years were bogus. We joke about the portrait of life that we were fed from such 1950's and 1960's TV shows like "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best". It's a picture of life that even now we're digesting with 20/20 hindsight in such period dramas as TV's "Mad Men". We were somehow brought up to believe that, when we retired, life would, at least, be quieter. Also, it would be better if we worked hard and saved up wisely for our 'Golden Years.' Many people still go into middle age believing that, even though slowing down will be inevitable, at least we have some peace and quiet to look forward to."