Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Historical Moment in a Homogenous Town

I am very curious to hear what the feeling leading up to election day was like in other cities, and more importantly, on November 4th, because in Madison, it felt like our city was playing the world series, and our team won.

I didn't do a whole of volunteering for Obama, but I did things that nobody else wanted to do. Sunday, I went to the volunteer headquarters, as I had signed up to canvass. I was sent to another location, where I chose to pair off with a stranger who was also going to canvass solo. The area we were assigned, she informed me, (as she knows Madison better than me), is actually outside of Madison, and she seemed to think we would be knocking on the door of McCain supporters. Now, for those of you who live in Madison, you know that there are very few republicans that you will run into. At least, this has been my experience. The area we went to was a little strange. Part of it was run down looking, with pit bulls (not ones with lipstick on), and certainly felt like low income tenants. The other part of the street was definitely upper class, with larger homes, which included a small stream through their back yards. Some of these people were rude and republican. It was nothing personal, though. For the most part, many were Obama fans. After returning, my friends down town were SHOCKED to hear that I ran into a few non Obama supporters.

As Tuesday approached, I was getting pretty darn excited, and there was a sense of enthusiasm, no doubt. I was sure of Obama's triumph, although I didn't tell a lot of people that. I had already envisioned him giving his victory speech, and I didn't picture it any other way.

Technically, I can be considered a resident of Ohio still, so I made sure to cast my vote there. But it was very hard to focus on Tuesday. I got out of bed earlier than normal, and had the tv (really the laptop, as I opted not to get cable) going in the early hours of the morning. I anticipated hearing about the small New Hampshire towns that have election results by lunch time - that's how I started my morning in '00 and '04. That's exactly what I watched on Tuesday.

By lunch time, I was certain that Obama won. Everyone in Madison, and I mean everyone, who had any paraphernalia on was an Obama advocate. I did not see one McCain sign, pin, sticker - nada.

I had planned to go to one of Madison's watch parties, the place I went to to watch him debate, the Majestic. Originally built during the Vaudeville days, this is a theatre with two bars, and the big screen was playing the election results. People kept on asking me, "Do you think we'll know tonight?" I think it's funny that they thought I was some expert on this. "Yes, I do," I said. "We will know before we go to sleep" I told them. (They don't know I stay up until the sun comes up) - only joking... Moments before 10:00, there is a "New Years Eve" style countdown. At 10:00, as more polls close (I am in central time), and we know the presidency is Obama's, the crowds go nuts.

Outside, people were going crazy. I said it reminded me of when I lived in Boston, and the Patriot's won the Superbowl. But this time, it wasn't just Madison, or the state of Wisconsin, but even globally. Pretty amazing. Parades were marching around down town (I thought about joining in), people were honking, cheering, the whole nine yards.

After a lengthy walk around down town, I had to stop in a bar on the way home to use the rest room, (and grab a cold one and have a little popcorn), and this girl walks in, clapping, yelling, "We Won!" I had to think about this. "We won?" Yes, I guess she is right. The entire town that I now live in is "we."

1 comment:

  1. In this case, I think America is a "we". Tonight, we will be celebrating by having the whole family over for our Congratulations Obama party. We will be serving "Alaskan" salmon and "Baked Alaska". Bon Apetit! Oh yeah, Laila will be wearing her, "My Mama Loves Obama" t-shirt.