Monday, November 3, 2008

Nervously Waiting For the Polls to Open

It's 1:30 in the morning, and I can't sleep. My stomach feels like a giant ball of lead, and I've spent the last couple of hours reading New York Times articles, making iTunes playlists, and playing solitaire. I keep telling myself that Obama's going to win tomorrow, because all of the data points to it. Fivethirtyeight.com is now giving Obama a 98.1% chance of being elected. But you know how the human brain processes those kinds of statistics; even looking at Nate Silver's pie charts don't make me feel any better. They just kinda make me hungry.

Maybe it was an attempt to assuage my feelings of guilt and helplessness, but I made, like, 150 calls today to Indiana on behalf of the Obama campaign. There was one young woman - I'm pretty sure that she was black - who told me that the last time that she tried to vote, in 2004, she was told by the officials at her polling place that it was illegal to vote for a straight Democratic ticket, that she had to vote for at least one Republican. And she just wanted to ask me if that was true, because she wasn't sure or not.

So I guess that I'm only partly anxious about the actual outcome of the election. Most of the McCain supporters with whom I spoke were very nice and polite. I even gave some of them polling information; I figured, y'know, that they ought to know where to go to vote, too. There was just one young man who shouted at me, "Fuck Barack Obama!" and then slammed down the phone. (Have you ever noticed how you can tell when the person on the other end of the line actually slams the phone down?) That's fine with me - I've done a lot of work in phone banks. I'm OK with being hung up on.

But what worries me is thinking about what happens when these two young people meet at the polls tomorrow. And then get multiplied by standing in line for six hours and by being tens of millions of people, and not just two. So, yes, I guess that I'm saying that I will be surprised and relieved if we get through tomorrow without any kinds of violence or disruptions of the voting process. I'm guessing that I'm not the only one tense and uptight about this election, and anxiety is always the surest recipe for well, maybe not disaster - let's just call it mass stupidity.

And then what? Say we do get through tomorrow without any pitched battles in the polling lines, without ant disputed or litigated voting results, without any Brooks Brothers riots, without any kinds of national emergencies, and let's go so far as to say that Obama not only wins, but wins comfortably, with a mandate. Then what? It's not like we're not in an economic depression, or that we're not involved in two foreign wars. All of the headlines that I've been reading tonight have been saying that this is the end of a historic journey, but it's not. It's just the beginning. I can kind of imagine all of Obama's campaign cheering and congratulating each other after he wins, and the whole city of Chicago erupting in a giant celebration, and Obama just standing there, thinking to himself, "What now?"

Does anyone else remember this movie?




It's nice to know that some things never change.

"America is therefore the land of the future, where, in the ages that lie before us, the burden of the World's History shall reveal itself." - Hegel

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." - H.L. Mencken

1 comment:

Rick said...

I think you are stressing about this election too much. I have learned over the countless elections, that win or lose, life muddles along. My first vote was in the infamous '72 election. Not much better than '04. We lived through that one. Granted, a sense of hope would be a great change in this day, but the president doesn't have ALL the control of our lives. WE SHALL PREVAIL!!!