November 4th, 2008

Election Day

Well, as always, the experience of voting here in leafy, historic Brooklyn Heights was rather moving.

One feels the heady funnelling effect, as people come together along the sidewalks heading for the polling place.  Why does going to the grocery store not feel at all the same?

Like the locusts.  Every four years the members of the Community emerge from their burrows to engage in strictly programmed reproductive rites, behind curtains.

After glancing at the GOP column for familiar local names (none there), I pulled the pure Democrat line.

There was also a Proposition on the NY ballot making it easier for war veterans to claim benefits — an attempt to overcome roadblocks thrown up by Bush-Cheney.  Hell yes.

I recall the letter my father — a Korea COMBAT veteran — received from the Veterans Admin circa 2004, while fighting cancer that killed him in 2006, that his medical benefits were being curtailed.  The opening line:  “As you know, America’s priorities have been changing since the attacks of 9/11 …” or very similar words to same effect.

The clunky mechanical voting machines are set up in the basement of a local public school.  What better venue?

And the associated PTA always has a bake sale — goodies and coffee for people who may find themselves waiting in line.  I got two pineapple muffins and a piece of lemon coconut cake. Let the celebration begin.

After voting I filled out an exit poll.   ABC and CNN were on the header with other organs.

I confessed that I had thought the Donkeys would do best to nominate Hillary.  And, re religion:  None.

I think I made only one boo boo — when asked about who was “qualified” to be First Lady.  Michelle, or Cindy, or Both, or Neither.

I said Neither.   A bit odd, given that the only qualification seems to be marriage to the president.  (Or might somebody someday shack up in the White House?  Stranger things have happened there.)

I guess the correct answer was Both, and that my hasty response was rooted in mild, superficial — unwarranted — dislike for both the wives.

Mrs Obama will do fine.  And, in that she seems to represent more fully than her husband (who along with Boz Scaggs is actually a martian) the cause of African-Americans, I’ll be happy and proud to see her assume the duties of high office.  What a day that was …!

Or … Am I tempting fate with this loose chatter?

It’s 6:14 pm.

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  1. ed says:

    SURFWALKER protested here yesterday that Obama’s mandate would be HUGE.  I’m copying my response below to promote conversation:

    I do agree the mandate is huge spiritually. And maybe spirit, for once, will matter.

    As for “transforming the political landscape” … I’ll wait and see.

    Certainly the internet has transformed campaign technique. That’s a revolution. Beginning in 2004 with the Dean campaign.

    But politics per se … Reason to think things haven’t changed much since the democracy of Athens collapsed after a misadventurous war into a series of incompetent tyrannies.  One of which put Socrates to death for corrupting the youth with critical conversation.

    It’s just this darn deja vu … Harking back to 1992. When it seemed, finally, Reaganism had been banished.

    This time it may be different, but thanks not to Barack as much as to the collapse of the finance system.

    I hope, that is, for a double whammy that will stick: The death of Reaganism/Thatcherism/Neo-liberalism, on its own terms, while whatever precisely Team Obama will cook up has a chance to simmer.

    I’ve been studying (again) the latest 60s Assassinations evidence and lore to come to light. The faux legal assault on Clinton, right out of the gate — a right-wing conspiracy for sure if less than vast — was assasination of a spiritual sort. The monsters have grown subtle.

    I wish BHO had taken Hillary along as VP — to serve as effective (physical) assassination insurance. If he succeeds in making effective policy and making it stick, two or three years hence V.P. Biden (whom I admire) may seem an invitation to the murderous unpatriotic crackpots and militarists among us.

    Dog bless and speed President Obama through his trial.

    November 4th, 2008 at 6:30 pm

  2. ed says:

    Aha! 8 pm.

    Networks are calling Pennsylvania for BHO.

    One of the big four or five question marks in the east. PA OH VA NC and FL.

    Very hard for McPalin to win if indeed Pennsy has gone Obama.

    November 4th, 2008 at 8:05 pm

  3. ed says:

    And aha, at 9:23, NBC calls OHIO for BHO.

    It’s now possible for him to lose Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana, and New Mex, Nevada and Colorado, and still win so long as he gets the northern midwesters and the three on the pacific coast.

    November 4th, 2008 at 9:24 pm

  4. Surfwalker says:

    “Protested” may be too strong. But maybe I’m inclined to see the cup as somewhat fuller than you do. I think the gains in the House and Senate speak for themselves. Obama can take this thing anywhere he wants to, at least from the start. I’m a little afraid that where he wants to take it may involve too many voluntary concessions to Republicans in the name of bipartisanship. But I’m coming more and more to appreciate his soft power. “Yes we can,” for all its prima facie fuzziness, is a flat response to “no you can’t.”

    In terms of transforming the political landscape, I’m thinking in two directions. The first is easy to feel but hard to pin down – a sense that the future just might be a lot more open than we thought. Time will tell, and trying to make predictions at this point would involve a category mistake.

    The second is more concrete, though still just a notion. As I’ve watched Obama over the last year, I’ve had a sense that the presumptuous way of speaking of the U.S. president as “leader of the free world” could, in his case, take on a dimension that it didn’t have before. I don’t know what the long-term ramifications of this will be for the trajectory of the U.S. as a political unit. But I’m feeling, however much I wish I was part of the celebration over there, that this could be a pretty good time to be far out in the American diaspora.

    November 6th, 2008 at 2:39 pm

  5. ed says:

    There IS something neat, short & sweet about “Yes we can.”

    And this display of Soft Power IS something of a chastisement — not only for the wielders of Hard Power, but also for people like me who sit around trying to figure out their motions and emotions.
    Not sure what you mean by the future being “a lot more open than we thought.”

    And not sure what you sense in the last paragraph — something ominous, you mean?
    (Eg, Obama is a closet North American Unionist?) ???

    November 6th, 2008 at 7:32 pm

  6. Surfwalker says:

    “Ominous” represents a value judgment I’m trying to withhold. This is, after all, a season for hope. But I don’t doubt that Obama will step into the role that his astounding international popularity makes possible. And I think he meant it when he said “the dream of our founders is still alive in this time.” His legacy, like any other, will be open to abuse.

    November 7th, 2008 at 7:19 am

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