Entries Tagged 'Election' ↓

Why I Voted For Obama

I guess I feel like it just needs to be said. No, I doubt very much that I will change any minds. So much of this country has already decided. But I still feel like I need to share why I am voting for Obama this year. Take it or leave it, really… but I voted last Thursday in Florida and now I am saying my piece here. After that? As my mother would say with a shrug of the shoulders, N’chala (an Arabic phrase that means “God willing”).

The Economy

Who are we kidding? Could any individual president have fixed this mess in four years? Nope. (No math wiz here but didn’t it take 8 years to screw it up?) Will either presidential candidate independently fix this mess? Ha. NOPE. That takes all of us, it means we ALL collectively need to be responsible and stop pointing fingers and looking out for ourselves above all else. I truly believe it will get better, it already is, but don’t you DARE kid yourself into thinking either guy has all the answers and it will or should change with the flip of a presidency.

Side bar: Taxes

WE NEED THEM. Don’t be greedy. Shut up and pay your fair share. Good grief.

Equal Rights

THIS is what is comes down to for me. Well, there is other stuff… sure. But THIS. I pick the guy who thinks women and men are equal. I pick the guy who believes any human being should have the right to love any other human being. Choosing the guy who DOESN’T would mean I care more about empty campaign promises than I care about my gay friends having equal rights. It’s really as simple as that. For me. My conscience is clear with my vote. And that’s that.

The Supreme Court

We have some supreme court justices who are likely to retire this coming presidential term. I know my beliefs. I know which rights I want to keep. I know I don’t want to see any delicate progress we’ve made slide dangerously backwards. As my husband says, I hope our next supreme court justice nominee has purple hair, a tattoo sleeve and a nose ring. Oh, I make generalizations, don’t I? But let’s get real, people. Do YOU see yourself represented in the supreme court? Just make sure that you do.

The Environment

Warm winters, blazing hot summers, melting ice caps, SANDY. Don’t even BEGIN to tell me you don’t think that global warming is for real. Is it. We need to deal with it. At the very least, we need to stop being so dependent on oil and oil companies and consider alternative energy sources. Yes, yes, there is so much controversy with what works best and what messes with things… but don’t throw in the towel and ignore it because it’s just more comfortable and convenient to do what you’ve always done. Getting comfortable and greedy is what screws us every time (see above under “economy”).

Trust

I didn’t trust Romney and his cardboard cut-out smile and un-smiling eyes when he was Governor of Massachusetts years ago. And I certainly do not trust him now. This man said that he couldn’t be bothered with 47% of this country. HE said that. Do I honestly trust that he is looking out for the middle class? Do I honestly trust that he will protect my rights as a woman? Do I honestly trust that he cares more about moving our country forward than protecting rich people’s money? No, no and NO. I do NOT trust that man. At all.

And there you have it for me. I feel better now. I got it off my chest. Again, I doubt very much that I have changed anyone’s mind. But it seems that NOW is the time to pull up my rickety little soapbox, get up on it and say my piece in this public space. Get up on yours. Let’s all have a holler about what we want and what we believe. Who knows, maybe we agree on more than we disagree and maybe, after Tuesday (and after a few wounds have been licked), we can get our asses in gear and come together. Maybe.

Here’s hoping.

We’re down to hours now, people. Make them count.

Election Results: Road Work Ahead

Ever heard of the saying “be careful what you wish for and you just might get it”? I’m wondering who might be muttering those sentiments a few months from now. This damn election could actually force some folks down a road they weren’t exactly prepared for. Because moving forward requires pulling down some carefully constructed barriers. After all, isn’t tacking up a collection of fancy signs with fancy slogans demanding folks not to go that way a whole lot easier than actually making the road itself?

Let me back up a bit.

After unloading the kids from the car after baseball, after feeding them quick “before bed” bowls of cereal, stripping their muddy clothes off, and bathing them and after eventually shooing them to bed, I finally turned my attention to the election coverage.

My husband, who had spent his evening waiting in line at the polls to vote, was already watching the coverage. Things didn’t look good.

I’m not sure I feel like hashing out how badly Florida just screwed up. It makes me feel ill. And in this current state of mind, I have nothing very constructive to say about it all. So I will leave it to Deb on the Rocks, who said it clearly enough last night on Twitter.

And it certainly was not just Florida who lost its ever loving mind. The House lost it’s democratic majority and the Senate barely, baaarely, held on to theirs. Seats were filled with Tea Party newcomers and, I’m sorry but let’s get real, some shady cats.

And John Boehner wept with majority leader anticipation.

My husband fixed himself a stiff drink. I lept at the Halloween candy bowl. And then made myself a stiff drink. Sorrows were drowned if only momentarily.

But I kept thinking about John Stewart this weekend at the Rally for Sanity. (Because, shocker, I was grasping for a little sanity while those results ticked across the TV screen.) I kept thinking about his tunnel traffic analogy. How all of us with different ideals and hopes and religions and political persuasions manage to make our way through traffic jams every day.

“And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile long 30 foot wide tunnel carved underneath a mighty river.  Carved, by the way, by people who I’m sure had their differences.  And they do it.  Concession by concession.  You go.  Then I’ll go.  You go. Then I’ll go.  You go then I’ll go. Oh my God, is that an NRA sticker on your car?  Is that an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s okay—you go and then I’ll go.

And sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute, but that individual is rare and he is scorned and not hired as an analyst.

Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness.  And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey.  But we do it anyway, together.”

Yes this country has decided they want change again. Sure, I could go on here about our impatient, disposable, drive-through society with no apparent attention span and a love for all things bright and shiny. And how if we don’t get what we want right NOW, we give up and move on to the next one.

I gather there is no convincing folks that after 8 years of outrageous screw-ups, 2 years of scrambling won’t make it all right again.

Anyway, so we want change again. Fine.

But sticking with Jon’s traffic analogy, there is no doubt that Obama has been up against one frustrating Republican road block after another. No, no, no. You will not make change happen. We will stop you. You are wrong. Always wrong. No we won’t compromise. Nothing constructive will happen under your watch. Never never never.

But now everything has changed. And those roadblocks? Those bright orange cones in the road and reflective signs and Jersey barriers demanding that this administration STOP!!! … Yeah, those? They have now been elected AS the road. Now, they have been elected to figure out which way we are going. They actually have to buck up and help find the path of least resistance WITH Obama. They need to push aside those Jersey barriers and flags and such so this nation might have some damn hope of inching forward. They have to learn to make room for YES, and OK, and LET’S COMPROMISE so that something, anything can progress. This is, in fact, where the rubber meets the road.

Strap on your seat belts, my friends. I’m afraid its going to be a very bumpy ride.

Inauguration Day: Proud, Patriotic and Pantsless

So here I sit, under a blanket, with a cup of tea steaming on the coffee table. My laptop, with about 10 separate windows open (CNN.com, twitter, various blogs, email, etc.), is sitting on, well, my lap. CNN is on the television in front of me and my two year old son is napping (finally).

And Barack Obama is President of the United States.

Wow.

He’s been president for almost two hours now. And I could not be more grateful.

Someday my sons may ask me where I was the day President Obama was inaugurated. And so I think it seems only right I post today to “archive” it in some way. But I hate to disappoint them. Even though my parents live in the DC area, we are not there. We are home in Florida. Or I am, with C., doing dishes, making dinner and folding laundry. My 5 year old went to school today and my husband went to work and won’t be home until late in the evening. A family trek to DC was not practical or affordable right now. So here we are, its just another day in the neighborhood.

But I know its not. Something has changed. A subtle but deeply felt shift just happened, and we were all moved by it. Our country is now somehow altered with the swearing in of this single man. Hope is an extraordinarily powerful thing and the meaning of an event like today’s inauguation can be felt in every office, work place, and living room nationwide. Even in the far reaches of boring old suburbia, even in a little ol’ living room like mine.

As the crowds gathered on the Mall this morning and I gathered my robe around me while I watched, I suddenly figured something out. You know this whole concept of change that Obama has been going on about? Yeah, well, I have realized that “change” – or making it happen, rather – is something that we all must to own. It’s no longer Obama’s line anymore. Once he was sworn in, change has become an action that we are all responsible for. We can fix these issues if we all harness the energy of the people on that mall today and commit to making a significant difference in our communities, from where ever we stand. Even if we stand in a spot far from DC, maybe even at the edge of a cookie cutter community in Florida, in a home with stew simmering in the crock pot and a child napping in the front room. 

So back to my point. What was I doing when Obama was sworn in? Well, as Aretha Franklin began singing, I noticed a certain… odor… in my living room. And it wasn’t the stew. C. looked at me sheepishly – and I knew. Yup. I spent Obama’s swearing in changing a very full and fairly horrifying poopy diaper. Afterwards, I let C. “air” out some and left him pantsless. The poor child has had horrible diaper rash. And I dragged out his potty too which he graciously peed in for me – twice – while I caught snippets of Obama’s speech.

That’s where I was when Obama became President of the United States. I was at the helm of my current and very humbling profession, doing what I do best right now, being a mom.

(And you can’t say *I* wasn’t “changing” something during that very pivotal and historic moment in history, correct?)

So here is my two year old, only minutes after Obama officially became president, standing on our back porch: pantsless and patriotic. cinaug

Plan a Party to Celebrate the Inauguration

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Picture from Obama’s First Day

The countdown in on – there are less than two weeks until Barack Obama is elected president! And this liberal mom thinks the occasion calls for a celebration. If you are as excited as I am, and game for a get together, here are some ideas to host your own fabulously patriotic inauguration party.

Plan the Party

First thing’s first however: unfortunately, the date and time are not exactly “party-worthy”. The inauguration will be held on Tuesday, January 20th and President-elect Obama will officially be sworn in at noon. A parade will follow that afternoon and of course, all major networks will be covering the event. (Even Nickelodeon will be covering the event with young reporters!)

But back to the issue. Noon on a Tuesday is not exactly the time to host a hugely impressive gala. So there are a few options to consider.

  • If you are home that day, host a fun get together with other parents who are home also
  • If you usually work, consider playing hooky – and tell your partner to do the same
  • Have a Tuesday night BBQ or early get together to celebrate
  • Host an inaugural ball of your own the weekend before or after

Invitations

Now that you have decided what kind of party works best for you, it’s time to think about the invites. Sure, it’s a little late, but if your friends are as fired up to celebrate this event as I am, they will leap at the chance to ring in this new presidency. But since the date is coming up fast, consider sending evites. My Punchbowl is my favorite alternative to Evite and it has some fabulous invites at their site.

Regarding who you invite, obviously invite folks who share your own political views. But please consider inviting those that don’t also. In the spirit of bringing this nation together to solve these upcoming issues as Americans, make sure your invites go out to friends of yours on both sides of the political fence.

Decorations

Obviously, as we are all feeling patriotic, you should decorate in red, white and blue. I would also consider adding some sparkle to your event, especially if you hold your event at night. Get creative and recycle red table cloths you may still have from Christmas or some glittery decorations from New Years. String up a few Christmas lights with your red, white and blue too!

Food

The possibilities for food options are endless. You could go with traditionally American foods such as hot dogs and apple pie. Since Obama is from Hawaii, you could serve traditional Hawaiian foods. Ehow offers some great ideas:

“You can choose fun themed foods such as ‘Buffalo LEFT Wings,’ or how about some ‘Campaign Trail Mix?’ Other ideas that are clever include: ‘Lipsticked Pigs In a Blanket,’ ‘Sloppy Joe Bidens’, ‘Barack of Lamb’, and ‘Shredded Pork (Barrel) Sandwiches.’… Keeping the fun theme going for the drinks, why not create a shot and call them ‘Cheney Shooters.’”

I would also consider serving some of Obama’s favorite foods. He is a big fan of Italian pizza. Also, NPR found recipes for some of his favorite Mexican dishes.

Don’t forget Michelle’s favorite shortbread cookies for dessert! And, of course, serve “Yes Pecan” Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Drinks

Apparently Obama’s favorite beer is Bud Lite which is easy enough to serve. And I would throw in some Busch beer too, just for fun. But what are some other patriotic, theme appropriate drinks to serve? You can find 10 “all American” cocktail ideas at Fine Living.com. Also, here is a fun recipe for Patriotic Punch. And then Hawaiian themed cocktails are also fun, and probably very welcome in the midst of winter.

Music

Considering that Aretha Franklin will be singing at the inauguration, her music must be a part of your playlist. Other options for Obama favorites can be found on his Facebook page:

“Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Johann Sebastian Bach (cello suites), and The Fugees”

Games

DivaGirl offers some fun Inauguration games including having guests participate in some presidential trivia. While your group watches Obama’s speech, Ehow shares Bingobama. Print out copies for everyone!

Don’t forget about the kids – they may want to be a part of the inaugural fun as well! Kaboose.com has some excellent ideas such as making your own parade stick, presidential coloring pages and fun family quizzes.

More party ideas can be found at any of these sites:

And finally, if you are serious about hosting an inauguration bash for your entire community, visit Move on.org for more information about how to set one up.

Further Inauguration information:

Happy January 20th!

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

Michelle Obama as First Lady, Feminist and Mom in Chief

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I can’t help but empathize with Michelle Obama right now. As a mother of two small children myself, I keep trying to imagine what she is going through as she prepares her family for life in the White House. I think about her little girls growing up in Washington DC as I did, attending a school right down the road from where I grew up. And as I empathise with our future first lady, my ears perk up when I read both about the support and criticism she is receiving as an accomplished woman who has decided to make her role in the White House “mom-in-chief”.

There can be no more daunting task than trying to raise the First Children. Can you imagine? Your daughters must live in a virtual museum with some of the tightest security world wide. There is no spontaneously running over to a neighbor’s house to play.  They will be isolated and protected from the world and yet they will have the most public lives of any child.

And so Michelle Obama has chosen to make parenting these children her priority. However, within days of learning about her future in the White House, Michelle had already received her fair share of advice. Hillary has jumped in to say her piece. Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, had a few things to say. And even FDR’s grandson offered some words of wisdom. While Michelle did not formally ask for Laura Bush’s advice, the current first lady did share her suggestions with the press later.

I wonder what comfort she has taken from all of this advice, if any. I wonder how much more advice is coming down the pike from other celebrity parents or those with political agendas or even advice from your average “Jane Parent” who always thinks she knows better anyway.

However, while Michelle prepares her girls and faces all of this advice, she must deal with those who already criticize her decision to put her girls first. Michelle is certainly an accomplished woman. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she continued on to work as an associate at a law firm and hold six board of director positions. She founded programs, she lead community outreach - she made “change” happen long before it was cool for an Obama to do so. But now, as her husband has been elected to be President, she has chosen to bring her career to a screeching halt and just be… well… a mom.

In a fascinating article written by Rebecca Traister at Salon.com, Michelle’s choices to focus on the traditional worries of a First Lady leave the author concerned. 

“…some of the most extraordinary [qualities of Michelle Obama] – the ones that set her apart from many of her predecessors in the East Wing — are already falling victim to a nostalgic complacency about familial roles, and to an apparent commitment to re-creating Camelot with an African-American cast, but little modern tweaking of the role of wife and mother.”

She argues Michelle could push the envelope and bring a more career minded feminist into the role of a first lady. She seems disappointed she has chosen to put her role as a mother and wife first and foremost, while leaving all the rest behind.

Ruth Marcus from the Washington Post discusses the ever present question that arises between married parents such as the Obamas: who will work and who will raise the children?

“The brutal reality is that, like our president-elect, most men do not wrestle quite so strenuously with these competing desires [to work or raise your family]. So when the needs of our families collide with the demands of our jobs, it is usually the woman’s career that yields.”

She implies that Michelle was not given much of a choice in this matter. When Obama was elected President, her career had to end. And there was no other choice but to make her children a priority.

But has Michelle truly failed as a feminist by focusing on her children? Is her career an utter failure because she is stepping aside from it for the meantime? Has she lost all credibility as a potentially new, modern, variety of First Lady?

According to Geraldine Brooks at The Daily Beast, she can make parenting her priority while still representing women as a powerful example.

“She is smart enough and subtle enough to have worked out that so-called Mom issues can make for meaty public policy.”

And then explains that her position as a mother in the White House will in fact bring much needed attention to women who struggle daily as they balance their careers and family.

“Work-family balance? What is that, really, but a polite way of putting the feminist agenda of equal pay and decent childcare back on the table after so many years of neglect?”

Meghan O’Rourke at Slate.com sympathises that, once again, no matter if a woman chooses either work or parenting as the priority, they will be criticized for their choice. And most of often a woman’s biggest critic is herself. She then goes on to make this final point.

“The best way Michelle Obama can act as a role model for women right now is not by making the decision any one of us would make (because we’d all make different decisions), but by reminding us that life is fleeting, and we ought to immerse ourselves in the opportunities and joys of our own life as it exists. Not as it might exist.”

And so my identification with Michelle Obama remains true. With two small children, and a mountain of advice, she must trust her instincts and raise her girls the best way she knows how.  There is no doubt in my mind that she will change the role and perceptions of the First Lady. And however she shakes things up, she has already made it unapologetically clear that she will make her girls her priority. In my mind’s eye, as a mother and brilliant leader able to remain fluid in her many roles as a woman, Michelle will make an excellent “First Feminist” indeed.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

Maintain the Grassroots Momentum and Make Change Happen

On November 4th, we elected Barack Obama to become our 44th President. And on that evening, as a democrat, a woman and an American citizen, I could not have been more proud of my country. In a couple months, we will celebrate his election with an Inauguration, as he’s officially given the title “President of the United States of America”. But afterwards, with confetti still falling to the ground and his pencils freshly sharpened, we will be left to wonder… “Now what?” It’s time for change, right? So how does that happen? One thing is certain: Obama will have to work very hard to right this sputtering, smoking plane that we call our country. But we’re all passengers on that plane, and its up to all of us to fix it.

Over the past year, I think what amazed me most about Obama’s campaign was the unique, unprecedented support he received from individual voters. He made an effort to interact with voters in a way no other has. Yes, his outstanding speeches and a well thought out policy for change certainly resonated with citizens. Those two points were impressive in their own right. But what truly inspired me was how many people took charge and decided to give this election momentum by their individual actions.

Patrick Levine Rose wrote an insightful article about his experience working on the Obama campaign. Once again, it is a testament to how many people went door to door, how many phone calls were made, personal emails sent out, new voters registered, millions of donations (offering as little as $5.00 a piece) were given, large rallies and small get togetherswere organized. There is no doubt in my mind that this election was won because of powerful, individual grassroots efforts. He will be President not because of one brilliant campaign manager and a ton of loot – he will be President because thousands of regular people heard an important message and were called to action. Regular folks, with hardly much political clout other than their right to vote, are the ones who ushered Obama into the White House. What an inspiration.

So now we live in a country that has seen the power of individuals focused on a common goal. We know a grassroots effort can work. Thanks to every individual involved in his campaign, Obama will become President at the start of this upcoming year. And he has one hell of a mess on his plate. Obama Zombies aside, should we retire our Obama pins, put our feet up and breathe a sigh of relief exclaiming that everything will now be taken care of? Um, I don’t think that’s such a good idea. If we ever needed to get organized and do our part, it would be now. In my opinion? We have to keep up this kind of momentum if we want to get our plane running smoothly on all cylinders again.

Here’s the first step. Consider some of these questions and think through ways you might be able to make a difference on a local level:

What do you expect of our country? What do you expect your responsibilities are as an American citizen? What can we do as individuals withbusy lives? What can we do as mothers? How can we come together with Americans who didn’t vote for Obama? (Because guess what, we need their help too.) What can we do on a daily basis to change our environment? Can we stop hate on a local level? What can we do to fix this economy? (I can’t help but wonder if more shopping will stimulate our economy or just get us all in more debt?) What do we teach our children or how do we involve them at their schools? How can our place of business make a difference?

Now I need your feedback. I am going to list some spots where we can go online to get involved and make this exciting new concept of “change” actually start to happen. But these are certainly not the only places we can go to make a difference. Check out my list and then comment back with some of your suggestions. Think about those questions and remember that individuals working on a grassroots level can actually move this country forward. Yes we can because… yes we did.

Change.gov: Obama is offering Americans a platform to “Tell their story”. Take some time to write your perspective, your ideas and how you might want to see change happen.

BarackObama.com : If you volunteered for his campaign or would like to volunteer in the future, log in and take the survey offered.

Momsrising.org : A bipartisan group promoting mother’s rights.

MoveOn.org : A progressive, liberal group bringing individuals into the political process.

Dividedwefail.org: The AARP, SEIU and NFIB have created this group to bring about bipartisan change.

Wecansolveit.org: Founded by Al Gore, a non profit, bipartisan group focused on climate change. There is currently a petition asking you to support the EPA’s regulation of carbon monoxide pollution. If you are interested, click here. You have until Friday, November 28th to sign the petition.

HRC.org : A civil rights organization advocating on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered citizens.

What groups or websites would you add to this list?

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

Gay Marriage Bans, Discrimination and Fruit

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While last Tuesday night had many Americans dancing in the streets (and rightfully so – hell, I’m still dancing), we were also given a sobering wake up call. Bans on gay marriage passed in California, Florida and Arizona.

Forgive me as I state the oh so obvious, but this is very bad news for our country.

While we rejoice the fact that an African American man has become a United States President, there – sitting in the shadow of this wonderful moment - is hate, discrimination and fear. And so, a majority of people in these states voted that two people who love each other – who happened to be the same gender – do not deserve the same rights to marry as they do.

Gender. What the hell does it mean anyway? That I have to sit down to pee and my husband does not? That I have the physiology to make a baby and but my husband does not? Or that at Red Lobster, he goes into the “Bouys” room and I go into the “Gulls”? I mean, that’s it. Otherwise, we are as alike as any two people can be - with the same abundance of love for each other and our children, with the same abilities to think and reason, we catch the same germs when we get sick, we like to eat good food, and drink beer, and maybe he watches more football than I do but we BOTH watch Project Runway, for cripes sakes!

Now, my feminist tendancies are tapping my shoulder to remind me that men and women have not been treated the same since the dawn of man… er… people. (SEE?!?!) And gender is a very complex thing indeed (am wiping my brow remembering a Philosophy and Gender class I took in college). But, that’s not what I mean right now. I am talking about just the basics of gender. And that we are the same – except for some interesting bits of physiology. So, really, what it comes down to is that my husband and I – who love each other very much – are allowed to be married simply because he has twigs and berries, and I’ve gotta peach.

And so, depending on how we shuffle our twigs and berries and peaches, those with only the CORRECT assortment of said symbolic plant items can marry. Therefore, two people who love each other deeply but BOTH must use the”Bouys” room… well, call out the reinforcements and send lightening bolts down from the heavens – they absolutely CANNOT be married.

Folks think about it. When it comes to love and family, gender doesn’t mean anything. Love is love. And no one else should be allowed to tell me or anyone else who I can or can not love and marry.

Shoot, if all marriage boils down to is an assortment of the correct kinds of fruit, well then you may as well tell me that I couldn’t marry someone because he or she was shorter than I am. Or has a different shade of eye color. Or a different shade of skin than I do… (oh wait, we’ve done that one before).

Not allowing two human beings to marry – AND I DON’T CARE WHAT COMBINATION OF TWIGS, BERRIES AND PEACHES YOU’VE GOT – is discrimination people. It’s as simple as that.

So before I get any further stewed up and start hurling more fruit epithets your way, I will leave you with this. Please, PLEASE watch this special comment given by Keith Olbermann last night. He gets it so right for me and for all of us. Love is love people, and it’s simply a human right.

keith-olbermann        CLICK HERE TO WATCH KEITH OLBERMANN’S SPECIAL COMMENT.

Yes, We Did It: My Thoughts the Day After Obama’s Victory

It happened. Obama was elected president last night. How could I possibly express how extraordinarily proud of my country I am right now. It is a new chapter in our history and a moment I will never forget.

But I gotta tell ya. I am completely overwhelmed and utterly exhausted by it all. Its as if my emotional mainframe has been entirely blown out. There is so much to process about what this all means for us. In fact, as soon as I start thinking about all of it, I get choked up and totally distracted. So I stop myself and stay on task. Life must go on here – off to drop of T. at school, off to wal-mart for a new trash can, off to get flu shots…

Still, I can’t resist saying a few things today. Just a few thoughts. And then I will be on my way, to regroup and be back refreshed to post on another day.

First of all, I am struggling to really truly understand the depth of what it means to have finally elected an African American president. As we watched Obama’s speech last night and Congressman Lewisthis morning, my husband said he never thought he would see the day. I thought about it and said I had thought I would see such a day. Then I wondered why I have been so optimistic about that possibility. Well, I think its because I have seen another impossibility happen before.

On February 11, 1990, I happened to be in Johannesburg visting friends (I lived and went to high school in Swaziland at the time). Do you know what happened that day in history? Nelson Mandela was released from prison. I will never forget the sound of that entire city raised up in celebration. During my years living in its neighboring country, the impossible happened for South Africa: Apartheid was abolished, Nelson Mandela was freed and he became president. While I certainly can’t really compare the politics and complexities of the United States and South Africa, I can compare the utter joy of that day. And since then, I have believed anything is possible.

Another fleeting thought in my mind right now is how much repair this country needs. This election tore us all apart. While I listened to the radio this morning, it was as if the DJs thought Obama being elected was a sign of the end of days. There are grumblings about socialism and terrorism and baby killing. While ridiculous, I feel its a sign of fear and misunderstanding about Obama’s potential for leadership. We need to figure out a way to reconnect again and, even if Obama was not your choice, find the strength to bring ourselves back together immediately.

The realist in me won’t let me forget another very important point either. Why is it so damn important that do we bring ourselves together right now? No doubt about it, we have a hell of a lot of work to do to fix our problems. While Obama will be president, it is up to ALL of us to take responsibility and put our country back together again. Lets stop pointing fingers (Bush, Obama, McCain, Karl Rove, Cheney, either Clinton) – enough already, lets get focused and fix ourselves.

And one more thing. Bans on gay marriage passed in California, Florida and Arizona. Discrimination lives on. This is a wake-up call for all of us that nothing can be fixed over night – even a night as amazing as last night. We need to keep working and pushing forward to assure equal rights for every American. It’s only a mandate in our constitution after all…

Finally I will leave you with this video of Obama’s victory speech last night. What a moment in our history. Once again, I am deeply proud to be an American this morning.

(Phew. And I am really so damn tired. More from me – more fun stuff from me, I promise – once I reboot this worn out, run down, over thought system of mine.)

Holding My Breath on Election Day

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Ok Folks. It’s all come down to today. Forgive me for not really having many words. I am very busy wringing my hands and muttering to myself. And desperately trying to remember to breathe. I’m am grateful to have voted already because I can’t possibly imagine having to truly function today. But I will, of course. I will distract myself with writing that needs to be written and playgroups that must be played at. While I rock my Obama T-shirt proudly, I will ogle the voters that are already lined out into the parking lot up the road from here. On my way to kindergarten pick-up, I will drive past the fields of campaign signs that seem to have sprung up overnight. And I will over hear those conversations in the grocery store line: “Whats the difference between Barack HUSSEIN Obama and Osama Bin Laden? They both know someone that bombed our country… har har har.” And I will keep my mouth shut. Because today it’s time for this country to quiet down, focus and finally decide who they want in charge. The majority will tell us which direction we are headed next.

Make your voice part of the majority.

Please vote today.

Deep breaths.

I’ll be back to talk to you on the flip side…

An Election Poll: The Bumper Stickers I’ve Seen in Florida.

I am facinated by bumper stickers. I always have been. I can’t help but look to see what people have to say, what they believe in and what they choose to support publically as they drive around town. It’s no suprise then that I have a few bumper stickers of my own. Lots of people I know don’t like bumper stickers, they argue that they are even unsafe since they give away a lot of personal information. But, well, I just couldn’t help myself. My car is hardly very flashy as is, so I see no harm in spicing her up with a little bling.

However, my facination with bumper stickers has been fanned and ignited from a mild interest to a full blown obsession with this election. You see, I live in a suburb in Florida that is kind of a big deal right now. According to the polls, it is still one of the fewer areas in Floirda that they cannot predict for this election. And our state overall is still on the fence as to which way it will go. So depending on how my neighbors vote, the results for this county might actually help determine whether we become a red or blue state tomorrow. The people driving in the cars all around me could help decide who our next president will be. So when I started seeing campaign stickers plastered on the backs of cars in my area, I couldn’t help but take notice. I was literally seeing who these drivers will vote for.

Last September, I started a little poll in my car. Since about the second week of that month, I started keeping track of every Obama and McCain bumper sticker that I saw. I was curious to see if my poll might reflect the polls for our state. Plus it helped me feel like I could have some sort of “heads up” about which way the area I lived in was voting. I was curious if I was the only Obama supporter for miles. It turns out I’m not.

I should also note here that I didn’t count any signs or other parphenalia that I saw. (Until recently, the large majority of signs were for McCain.) And I tried to be very careful never to count the same car twice. (For instance, kindergarten pick up means seeing many of the same cars everyday.) And even if a car was covered in Obama stickers, it was only counted once. I also continued my poll if I drove out of my area. I drove to Orlando twice during my poll and counted the stickers I saw. I am not sure how scientific my methods were but, for the last month and a half, I have been on hyper bumper sticker alert, hunting down stickers at every traffic light, traffic jam and parking lot I found myself at.

And now – cue drum roll – a day away from our national presidential election, I would like to present you with my results.

Total cars with bumper stickers: 114

Obama bumper stickers: 62 (54%)

McCain bumper stickers: 52 (45%)

It looks like Obama won, right? Well, I should also tell you that I attended an Obama meeting and counted 9 stickers there (I am sure there were more but thats as many as I actually saw). So, if I hadn’t attended that meeting, Obama would have only won in this poll by one bumper sticker.

So what does it tell me? Of the sample of cars I saw during my drives around town daily, the polls reflect pretty much what I saw. Elections results for this area of Tampa are going to be very CLOSE tomorrow.

And now, back to wringing my hands and hoping all goes well tomorrow. But before I go, I am kind of into this polling thing recently. Who are you voting for?

[polldaddy poll=1071805]