Today on Blogcritics
Home » Postmortem: Morning, Not Mourning, in America

Postmortem: Morning, Not Mourning, in America

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

I’m still reeling. Not just from the historic election results, but from working a fifteen-hour day yesterday at the polls. From 5 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. when we certified the last of the election results and got the huge and bulky envelopes ready for the chief to take with him, we worked tirelessly (well, perhaps at the end, tiredly) voting over two thousand people in the small third ward in the gym at Glen Maury Park, in Staunton, Virginia.

When we opened the doors at 6 a.m., after setting up the tables, turning on the machines, putting up the signs, running through the procedures, and getting everything ready, people were lined up at the door. The voters did not stop for even a minute, until it slowed to a trickle around 6 p.m. Still the people continued to come until the polls closed at seven. At the end of the evening, out of 2900 hundred registered voters, nearly 2100 hundred of them had come to the polls. Unprecedented. In the last election, the turnout was 25%.

I knew something was happening when many of them were first time voters, and not all of them were young. Those I congratulated heartily. But a good many were middle aged and some were much older. The voters were black, white, Asian and Hispanic. Middle class, poor, well-to-do. Businessmen, housewives, nurses and hospital workers, teachers and construction workers. Many wore the uniforms of their jobs.

I had to instruct at least one in four in how to use the machines. For six solid hours I was on my feet running back and forth between two machines. People brought three and four children to show them how democracy works. Others carried babies or led very elderly people; there were even several people from a group home. Several people I knew from town showed up. I had no idea that it was their precinct. People stood in the rain for hours. One woman, 92, who had seen 13 presidential elections, asked me to take her photo in front of the voting booth.

They carried their voter registration cards like badges of honor, slipping them out of the envelopes in which they had been mailed as though they were their first credit cards: white, pristine, handling them carefully.

If my small “red” town, in what has been a “red” state for 44 years could be a microcosm of the United States, then change was coming.

I had volunteered for this duty after working for months for the Obama campaign and listening to the chargers of voter “fraud” coming from the mouthpieces of the McCain campaign and being curious, after voting so many years myself, as to just what it took to work the polls. What was needed, in my state at least, to both man the polls, be trained as a poll worker, and to vet those who would come to vote?

For the first time ever, a plainclothes policeman was at each precinct in Virginia in case of problems. The Democratic Party had lawyers at each polling place, too. There were numbers to call in case of issues; we had pages and pages of “what ifs,” and the chief of the workers was well versed on what to do if a voter’s name was not on the rolls, his address had changed, he had no valid ID, etc. The rules were explicit.

But except for some complaints about the wait, the day went smoothly. People were kind, polite, and even funny at times. They were good-humored, they thanked us for our service. They had their identification out and ready and did not balk when we asked them to repeat their name and address as we looked it up in the book. They were grateful for our instruction on the machines and thanked us again. It was an extremely rewarding experience.

By the time I headed out to the Democratic Party at a nearby hotel I was so beyond my exhaustion quotient I was actually looking forward to what I hoped was a celebration. On the way, National Public Radio informed me that Kay Hagen had defeated Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina and that was my first inkling that Barack Obama might be able to pull this thing off.

It is gratifying that the work I have done campaigning for the past four months for Barack Obama has paid off. I have also been writing about the possibility of such a candidate since July and been covering his candidacy in person.

But I did not do it for that reason. I did it because I believed in this candidacy, in a candidacy where hope triumphs over fear, where intelligence triumphs over pandering to the lowest common denominator, and where the whole world, not just the United States, has a stake in our leadership. This is also a candidacy where the common man gets more consideration than he has gotten in a long time.

Obama’s election is far from just a referendum on how far we have come on race in this country. Black people alone could not have elected this man. They represent just 13.4% of the population according to 2006 numbers, and clearly when you look at the crowd at any Obama rally, or the volunteers at an Obama function, a huge proportion of them are white. Even the entire Hispanic population of 15% swinging toward Obama (which did not happen) would not explain the victory. Obama put together a coalition which represented a mix of the entire country — including, according to MSNBC last night, 35% of the Cuban population in Florida, which has traditionally always voted Republican. He also moved many moderate Republicans to his side and a huge number of Independents.

It is historic, however, that forty years after Martin Luther King was assassinated, and as Representative John Lewis noted on NPR last night, just 47 years after Obama himself was born — when whites and blacks could not even sit together on the same bus — we now have our first black President of the United States. Once again, the United States of America has done something good and first: even the most cynical of us should be able to admit we have shown ourselves and the world what is really possible.

It really is morning in America.

Powered by

About Lisa Solod

  • Zedd

    Lisa,

    Beautiful. I read every morsel and it flowed like butter. I could see every detail. As I citizen, may I express my thanks you for your hard work on election day.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Thanks. It was an education, Zedd!!!

  • jamminsue

    Lisa:
    Awesome! Good for you; Thanks so much for what you do!
    I am pleased with the election results and am hopeful that having a “thinker” in the White House will make some impact. It will not endear him to the Dem’s or Repub’s, so he will have quite a challenge to getting the stuff done that so desperately needs addressing…
    It will be so cool if we actually have a statesman instead of ideologue. I am not sure it’s possible, but we could have done worse.
    My 21 year old daughter who is a feminist says she is disappointed it’s a black man first, and not a woman. I told her Hillary would have been the nominee if Barack had not been so right.
    The closeness in the popular vote indicates the continued distrust in minorities, as the country so heartily is so done with the neocon ideologue administration that has their ugly message of intolerance on our backs for the last seven years…If it had been Biden or someone like him it would have been a huge landslide.
    Case in point, my 90+ mother-in-law that has ALWAYS voted Democrat and worked the polls every year for more than I have been alive, voted for McCain.

  • Baronius

    Lisa – A friend of mine who lives in Virginia told me how smooth everything went. Congrats.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    And yet, people still refuse to acknowledge race had anything to do with the negative votes against Obama. Yet I saw the same thing in my canvassing and in the votes FOR Mark Warner as senator but against Obama among Virginia democrats; they simply could not vote for a black man; and it was mostly among much older voters who could not get used to the change. Luckily the younger (under 50 mostly) voters who swung the day. I am proud of that.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Baronius, thanks. I have no idea how it went throughout the state so I am glad to hear that anecdote. We were prepared for the worst and got the best and for that I am glad. We were remarking, however, that with our huge voter turnout, we were feeling very sorry for workers in large cities, as we were totally wiped out. I have no idea how big cities do it, but they most rotate workers in shifts of only a few hours. I would love to see how a large city handles the process.

  • Doug Hunter

    “And yet, people still refuse to acknowledge race had anything to do with the negative votes against Obama.”

    Race is a tool of the left to strike fear and motivation into their voters (worked like a charm on you I see). Virtually everyone else is over it as this election has witnessed to.

    As for the article, it was well written and descriptive. I like the fact that you volunteered in a ‘red’ area to work with people that have different values. Perhaps it will begin to humanize republicans in your mind, and perhaps one day you will realize that their motivations aren’t hate, bigotry, and the joy of witnessing minority suffering, but underneath are much the same as yours.

  • http://www.thepolitikos.com Heloise

    Lisa, glad you’re here. Have some kool-aid? Just kidding never touch the stuff.

    Heloise

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Dear Doug,

    Here, on Planet Earth, we have both race (different races) and therefore racism (people who are prejudiced against and for those of different races). It is not just a liberal conceit set up to separate people so we can win elections. What planet do you hail from? Can I come visit?

    BTW, I did not go to some “red” state just to volunteer amongst the unwashed masses who do not think as I do. I actually have lived and worked and raised my children in this gorgeous and hospitable “red” state for 25 years. Is this the first article of mine that you have read? Did you follow any of the links and read the other pieces? Or perhaps you did not read closely? Oh well, anyway, thanks for the compliments; a girls takes them where she gets them.

    Oh, and PS, some of my best friends and family are, GASP!, Republicans. I actually find them quite human. They are Earthlings, quite like me.

  • Ann

    Can I make an observation that isn’t a koolaid one? What we have actually demonstrated is that our elections can be bought and that you don’t have to be qualified for anything in order to be elected. Now if that’s considered a personal attack, it will just illustrate to that, like Mr. Schumer, you consider free speech to be pornographic.

  • Cannonshop

    Well…

    coming down off of the Election high, I came across an interesting piece of art that imitates life.

    While it’s fiction, and satire, I’ve actually run INTO these people at work…

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    You may say whatever you like, Ann.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Cannon, you gotta LOVE The Onion. I will pass this one along for sure. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Cannonshop

    You’re welcome, Lisa.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Lisa,

    I’ll tell you what I told Heloise. But I’ll add just a bit more. I used to work the polls on election day in the Bronx when I was a Republican so many many years ago. The Republicans were always short people to do that where 9 out o 10 people registered as Democrtats, so I would recruit my friends from all over to join the club I belonged to, giving addresses of relatives in the Bronx, (so they could get paid, as I was) and they would also work the polls in various precincts in the Bronx.

    Your depiction of election day was spot on. I saw several such busy days in barber shops in the Bronx, long days either helping voters (or getting pulled off to some secluded alley by a very hot girlfriend….). No wonder I was always tired after the polls closed!

    The Obama supporters on this site (not to mention across the United States) got what they wanted. Many blacks who suffered discrimination can hold their heads up with pride; many mixed race Americans can really smile – one of their own got elected to the highest office in the land. For them, it really is morning in America. Heck, even I got what I wanted, though I do not count myself as any kind of supporter of Barack Obama. But once the partying is over, reality, and the issues that the United States must face, always comes back.

    There is always the issue of whether he will be allowed to assume office, something which seems automatic now, but which may not be. Then, assuming he does assume office, there are the problems that an American government under his leadership will be expected to solve.

    Demonstrations are great highs. I went to enough of them to know. Now, those of you who bought the Obama bottle of snake oil and drank deeply are feeling wonderful. But the highs of demonstrations do not solve systemic crises in the American economy, or deal with the serious mess that the Bush administration has left around the world. And believe me, the mess is bad.

    These essential issues will require an article (or two) to look at, and some thought.

    But, since I, my neighbors, and my fellow countrymen will be affected directly by this election, and by the promises that Mr. Obama has already apparently made here, even though we live a third of a world away, trust that I’ll have something to say.

    In the meantime, I did want Obama to be your president. Now, I have to take advantage of the opportunity you have so kindly given me to use his presence. So, my work has begun.

    I started on it already, explaining to a young soldier in an internet café yesterday how the American puppets in Jerusalem would bow to the new black god in the White House the way the high priests used to face the setting sun in the Temple to show their contempt to the G-d of Israel. I told him that it was his responsibility to rid us of these American puppets in Jerusalem.

    Nice article, Lisa. Your president-elect disgusts me, but so did his main opponent. And your sitting president makes me want to puke. Nevertheless, you turned out a very nice article.

    Savor this moment. You’ll need to hug the good memories in the bad times coming.

  • bliffle

    Ann,

    Huh?

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Bliffle, I didn’t understand it either. But I didn’t want to start an argument.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    I think this guy is the best op ed columnist in the U.S.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy

    LIsa says – Here, on Planet Earth, we have both race (different races) and therefore racism (people who are prejudiced against and for those of different races). It is not just a liberal conceit set up to separate people so we can win elections. What planet do you hail from? Can I come visit?

    The way I understand it is here on planet Earth we have one race, the human race, with various ethnicities of that race. Amazing that a black man had to point that out to me.

    Not voting for Obama had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS SKIN COLOR!!! It had everything to do with his left sided agenda. But hey, I’m out of a job, and if what I heard that lady on TV say the other day is true, then now that Barry is president, I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car or paying my mortgage. Life is good!!!

    Why is it so hard for “progressives” to understand that voting for Mark Warner, who was supported by both democrats and republicans was a lot easier than voting for the most liberal senator in the US Congress? Even the republican winner of the VB mayorial race got himself in trouble for supporting Mark Warner! Besides, picking Warner over Gilmore was a no-brainer!

    And to the commentor that said it was nice of Lisa to work at the polls in a red area I have news for you..northern VA ain’t been red in quite a while! But it is cool that you volunteered to work at the polls, for that I applaud you, not that you care.

  • Clavos

    I think this guy is.

    I would vote for him for president in a heartbeat.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Um, Andy. Staunton, Virginia is nowhere NEAR Northern Virginia, honey. It is in the Shenandoah Valley…

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Oh and PS Andy…
    Tell that to the dozens of people who said to me that they could not vote for Obama because he was black.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy

    Now you call me honey? I didn’t think you liked me at all!

    Can’t imagine the uproar we’d read if I had called you honey or babe or something like that…I’m surprised you don’t make us call you MS. Lisa! Are you missing a hyphen in your name btw?

    Anything 200+ miles northwest of me is northern VA!

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Ok, Clav, I’ll bite, Why isn’t it a crime to reveal a CIA agent’s identity?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy

    Dozens of people out of how many voters? Definately must be true then!

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Andy, that was just to me, one worker. Dozens of other workers I know have the same stories and that is only the ones I know. I haven’t done a poll, but that at least proves it was true of some people. Give it up. Racism exists in this country and you are a silly man for denying it. As does prejudice against Jews, Muslims and lots of other “different” people. You can deny it all you like. It doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy

    It most certainly does! But why is it only a problem when someone decides to vote against a person based only on their skin color? How many people voted FOR Barry based only on his skin color? And isn’t that racist as well?

  • Clavos

    Ok, Clav, I’ll bite, Why isn’t it a crime to reveal a CIA agent’s identity?

    Got law?

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Help me out here. I am not a lawyer. What was the point of revealing her identity? She was doing important work and her career was ruined. It seemed like a vendetta against her and her husband. From what I read and heard there was no good reason. If it wasn’t against the law, then why was it done?

    Don’t be condescending, Clav. I am asking you a real question. Your favorite columnist make a huge deal out of this in the column you link to…. so, illuminate me here.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    PS Clav, I just read the entire NRO piece and all the links and it still confuses me re the dates of everything: ie., mid 90s when Novack’s piece was published in 1993….it isn’t definitive to me. Sounds like arguing back and forth still.

    Anyway, I am more informed. But I wonder:

    WHY is this discussion on the thread for my article?

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Andy
    You are nuts. Staunton would never consider itself Northern Virginia. We are 3 hours from DC. Get a map.

    Staunton is rural small town mountain life. Not even close. You need to get out more.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy

    I’ve looked at a map, where do you think I got the 200 mile number? You’re over 200 miles northwest of VB. You might not be next to DC, but that’s not the only part of VA that’s north. Maybe you’re the one that needs a map?

    Let’s see, draw an imaginary line east/west through the middle of the state, where do you suppose Staunton would fall, north or south? I’d say WAY north.

    But you are right, I AM nuts!

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Lisa,

    As I have to continue to make a living, such as it is, I haven’t read all the above comments and, so, may be repeating some things already stated.

    Nevertheless, I first want to say nice job Lisa – in your efforts on behalf of our now President Elect, your work at the polls, and also for your writing. Nice article.

    I, too, worked the polls here in Indy, but in a different capacity. I worked for the Obama campaign calling in numbers that corresponded to specific voters when they came in to vote. The campaign was keeping track of who had or had not voted throughout the day. Unfortunately, the phone link crashed about mid-morning and all the data had to be hand carried to a central location.

    Our traffic flow was rather different than you described. We only had a total of about 600 people voting throughout the course of the day plus we received just over 200 absentee ballots late in the afternoon. We were busy for the first couple of hours, but then people just came in small waves the rest of the day. Whether it’s significant or not, that particular precinct is heavily Republican. McCain votes ran about 2 to 1 over Obama.

    I am very gratified, though that Indiana finally came through (if barely) for Obama. I know that a lot of money and man hours went into their effort in this state. It goes without saying that it is also great that Virginia came in for Obama as well.

    My wife and I canvassed for Obama on a couple of occasions over the last few weeks. That, too, turned out to be more enjoyable than I feared. Frankly, I hate going door to door or even doing phone work. I couldn’t sell water on the Sahara. My wife is much more at ease in those situations.

    Now, it all seems somewhat anti-climactic, though. Life goes on. My business is still in the dumpers, and we are literally scraping money together to come up with our next mortgage payment. I’m sure that things will loosen up in time. I just hope we can hold on until that happens.

    (Say Barack Baby, ya got any jobs for a grizzled old fart – a Hoosier neighbor? I have decent typing skills, I’m good with people, and I’m definitely a self-starter. My kid went to Northwestern and afterwards worked at the Ravinia Music Festival. During that period we pumped a lot of moolah into the Chicago area economy. I’m a good guy who bathes fairly regularly and have recently joined a fatness – er – fitness club to get rid of this paunch. I’ll have “washtub” abs any day now. I’d be one hell of a hire for your administration. They’ll talk about it for days in the media.)

    B

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Thanks Baritone,

    We, too, are having a very tough time financially…
    Trying to hang on:) I wish you the best as I am also married to a grizzled old fart. A very nice one, though, like you seem.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Well, I try. :)

    B

  • http://ex-conservative.blogspot.com Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos, Lisa –

    It IS against the law to reveal a CIA agent’s identity IF that agent’s identity is confidential. At that point it becomes a breach of security. If proper authority declassifies the agent’s name, then it is not a crime.

    HOWEVER, if the release of an agent’s identity compromises the identities of OTHER agents AND thus jeopardized their missions – which the release of Plame’s identification DID – THEN the ones who declassified and released the agent’s name are at best guilty of gross negligence and at worst guilty of treason. The only question would be whether the ‘proper authority’ was aware of the possible consequences of the declassification of the agent’s name.

    I don’t have a background in civilian law, but I served as assistant legal officer, chief master-at-arms, and chief investigator at various times during my career in the military, and I kept my security clearance for several years after I retired. My opinion above could be wrong…but I’m certainly not far off the mark.

    In any case, Cheney should have been impeached for this if nothing else. One can only imagine the Republican outrage if a Democratic administration had committed the same crime.

  • http://www.parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Lisa, I’m late to the party, but well done, indeed. As a fellow Virginian, albeit from that liberal northern area that isn’t the real Virginia, I was elated that our red state went blue.

    It was an amazing night. The next day, I played golf with a friend who’s black. I asked him how he felt, and he just gave me a huge smile and said he didn’t have any words at all. And this from a guy who usually can’t shut up.

    This’ll drive the conservatives up the wall, but I’ve never been prouder of my country. While ol’ Jug Ears faces problems the likes of which we haven’t seen in a generation, he (and we Americans through electing him) have caused the rest of the world to rediscover the extraordinary greatness of the American people.

    Hell, even the Busher is going well out of his way to make the transition smooth.

    It’s enough to make me give up my self-bestowed title of…

    Curmudgeon-At-Large
    In Jameson Veritas

  • Cindy D

    A translation of Ann:

    Can I make an observation that isn’t a koolaid one?

    Can I disagree with you Obama koolaid drinkers.

    What we have actually demonstrated is that our elections can be bought and that you don’t have to be qualified for anything in order to be elected.

    Self-explanatory.

    Now if that’s considered a personal attack…

    Saying Obama is unqualified and bought the election.

    , it will just illustrate to that, like Mr. Schumer, you consider free speech to be pornographic.

    Then, like Senator Schumer*, you probably think pornography holds any credibility as free speech.

    *Schumer who supports the fairness doctrine also supports limiting pornography on the air. But says to anti-fairness doctrine folks who want the FCC to limit pornography–you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say hands off here but not there.

    Hrmmm, I thought it might be interesting to try my hand at a foreign language. It wasn’t.

  • Cindy D

    Personally Ann, I support the fairness doctrine and I oppose pornography.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    And there we have the essence of the self-righteous left who would impose their values on others in violation of their most fundamental rights if given half an opportunity.

    What really scares me is that the Obama election may give people like Cindy a voice in government and a chance to take away my rights.

    Dave

  • Jordan “Boss” Richardson

    If anybody tampers with our rights to fairness in pornography, Dave, I say we storm Washington. I’ll be driving the van shaped like a penis.

  • Cindy D

    ROFLOL @ Jordan

  • Cindy D

    …self-righteous left who would impose their values on others in violation of their most fundamental rights to degrade women and rob teenage boys of the chance to have a wholesome sexuality.

    I’d also say even if people agree to work in a sweat shop…I’m still against them.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Against the workers, Cindy? You’d prefer forced labor for the government, I suppose? Perhaps a workhouse or some sort of reeducation camp like William Ayres proposes?

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    Sexuality, and all other human relations for that matter, will remain distorted as long the market rules.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Les, sex is just another commodity. Set it free.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    See, just what I’m talking about.

  • STM

    Legalise it, so that it can be taxed and regulated. Better to have some of that money going back into the hands of ordinary Americans than all of it into the pockets of organised crime figures.

    Then America’s cops could be out catching the real crims.

  • bliffle

    Who has done most to take away our rights in recent years?

    Could it be the guy who has thrown us into a burden of trillions of dollars of debt?

    Could it be the guy who has committed us to two unending wars in distant lands?

    The guy who taps our phones without warrants?

    The guy who negated habeus corpus?

    Authorized torture?

    Imprisoned people without charges?

    Who was that guy?

    Was it Obama?

  • Cindy D

    Against the workers, Cindy?

    LOL. No Dave. Against sweat shops.

    You’d prefer forced labor for the government, I suppose?

    Those are my options Dave? I have to take sweatshops or forced government labor? LOL

    Perhaps a workhouse or some sort of reeducation camp like William Ayres proposes?

    That’s just sill Dave.

  • Cindy D

    silly

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dave wrote an article a few months back extolling the virtures of workhouses. Now they are the stuff of Willy Ayers. Hmmm.

    B

  • Ms. Know

    It is another day, and we can not mourn, I agree. We have to hope that the left-wing illuminati will think some of the things they said they would do thoroughly through before implementing them.