Even though it means nothing, really: we're on vote-by-mail for all elections in Oregon, so I had already voted two weeks ago.
At first, I was a bit nervous, thinking that it was going to be another closely contested race with allegations of fraud and intimidation. Then I was really, profoundly surprised when I saw the preliminary news, and then I heard at 8:30 Pacific Standard time that McCain had conceded the race.
And my first thought was, "Wait, your running mate's state hasn't closed their polls yet."
I looked at oregonlive.com at their elections news, and found that mostly, the stupid measures had gone down, and mostly the good ones had passed, with one or two being too close to tell, and then I saw that there would be no way to tell whether rich, right-wing Mormon Senator Gordon Smith, champion of the *AFTA free-trade arrangement (he got richer) and staunch opponent of unions, or Jeff Merkel, liberal but tax-happy, will be the second Senator from our state.
Going in I had been given a sharp reminder or two that this wasn't a good vs. evil election, that the sins and flaws of the current regime have been purely due to human flaws and hubris, that in George W. we had a president who prays but doesn't listen, who leads by his charisma and who acts, when he acts, in a decisive way. He was a counterpoint, almost deliberately, to Jimmy Carter who prayed and listened but failed to act decisively and whose charisma was not the kind needed to handle a republican back-swing.
I was brought back to eight years ago: November of 2000 when we chose to cast our ballots two days before the national voting day. We both put down our selections, and then Penny drove us over to the county elections office where there was a big box and volunteers and everything.
And then, on election night, we were jubilant when Florida was declared for Al Gore, and there was wailing and gnashing of teeth from the guy across the street who was convinced that the country would be attacked by unnamed foreign enemies because of it.
And then the next day, the papers read BUSH WINS, and then GORE WINS, and then there was that whole mess.
A bunch of stuff you already know happened. At one point I was praying about it.
"Why is this happening? Is this really Your Will?"
And the answer came clear and plain: "America will have the President she (deserves/needs/wants)."
Eight years later, and I'm thinking, "This has been a really hard lesson but it may be that we had to go through this to relearn WHY things cannot just go on forever like they have been."
I also thought, somewhat bitterly, that rubyloot did not get to vote, and we couldn't celebrate like we had planned to at the last election.