Monday, November 10, 2008

The Fever has broken

I am currently looking at the Gulf of Mexico. The timing of my baseball team's tournament this year is perfect. I left PA Saturday morning and I am just now feeling human. Winning would be fabulous but the time with the boys and the beach time is critical. If the weather stays this great I would be thrilled.

Like many other concerned/frightened citizens, I threw myself into the task of getting Obama and the line candidates elected. The whole work thing at times seem to be an unwelcome intruder on my mission.

PA had become a critical player in this election and I could not live with myself, if I sat on the sidelines. My friends and family knew I was serious when I skipped many of my other activities such as baseball and football. 

The Phillies second season provided a wonderful diversion from the intensity of my campaign duties. To quote our shy second baseman, "We're world fucking champions."

I stopped at the local staging office the Sunday before the election and "Wow." The diversity of the volunteers was incredible. We were so well staffed the Obama campaign was able to deploy most of the members of their team to another location. I'm convinced that this team of people would have barely spoke to one another if they passed each other on the street. It was surreal. It was awesome. All were driven by the fear of Obama not getting elected.

I went to work the day before E-Day. I'm really not sure why. My office became the place where a few of my employees just paced in silence.

Noticing the silent pacing, one of associates finally inquired "You Ok?" 

Almost tersely, "Losing is not an option. Not to be melodramatic, but our democracy hangs in the balance."

"It will be fine," he gently replied.

Working the polls the next day, my anxiety only increased. My fellow poll workers were not much better The flow of voters did not slow down until 3:30. Our precinct had a 79 percent turnout. We represented the coveted Philly suburbs.

Friends from all over the region started texting me around 4. Their locations were equally pleasantly insane.

Some friends joined me and my local committee folks at a local pub to watch the returns.  It was cool watching the returns on the large screens. It was far more exciting than energy generated from the World Series.

When they announced the PA results, a loud roar went up. We were still too tense get cocky.

The Ohio returns made the crowd nervously giddy.

11:02 they finally called it for Obama. First silence. Then cheers that shook the building.

My buddy from Romania called his Dad. The tears were flowing. My daughter called to make sure it was real. Followed by a stream of friends and family who were celebrating.

I was too exhausted to feel, let alone sob.

Finally, I turned to a friend of 20 plus to see his tears just flowing. In between the tears,  he uttered "we did it."

I've seen this man cry when his mother passed.


I did not speak to my folks until the next morning. How silly of me not to call the night before.
"Of course we were awake, your younger brother and your daughter called," they scolded. We just laughed.

They too, were just trying absorb the moment.

My parents went to segregated schools in PA. They were the unknown foot soldiers in the civil rights movement. 

They were instrumental in getting black history introduced to the curriculum. 

How wonderful that we all got to witness this moment.

I did not fully understand the slow burning rage that I have been carrying for eight years. It is only Monday and I feel like a life time has passed.

I am no longer tense.  My rage is gone. The fever has broken.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Eve

Pennsylvania is ground zero. Like most of my friends, I have been heavily involved in the election since before the Primary. Writing will hopefully ease my anxiousness. Three of my employees who have been voluteering are stuggling to remain in their seats today. Pacing in my office is permitted.

Wherever you go, the election is the only thing people are talking about. The Phillies post season actiivites were a welcome diversion. But after the parade, most spent the weekend on GOTV efforts.

When I stopped by Region 4's office yesterday it was bustling with activity. While tired all were saying we got to get folks to the polls.

My 21 year old daughter assurred me that her peers would defintely vote. She has volunteered to work a couple of hours at the polls tomorrow, which is so cool.