Wednesday, November 05, 2008

mixed feelings

I had 7:30pm dinner reservations at a nice restaurant last night. By that time, it was pretty clear that Barack Obama would be our next president, and this being the Bay Area, the mood both at work and at the restaurant was pretty jubilant.

It wasn't until I woke up this morning that I discovered Proposition 8 had passed, leaving me horribly disappointed in my fellow Californians. I wonder if the Bay Area can disown Solano County?

Other random election-related thoughts:
- I'm impressed and heartened that Obama took Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Virginia, and possibly North Carolina. I distinctly remember asking someone if it was normal for North Carolina to be close, because I was so surprised it was even a possibility for Obama to win there.
- California is predicting a turnout of nearly 80% (they're still counting early and absentee ballots). As disappointed as I am about the passage of Proposition 8, I *am* happy that people are at least voting. It's so silly for us to talk about democracy and then not to participate in it.
- The Wolf Blitzer hologram stunt was kind of stupid. Did anyone even care?
- News organizations like to call states really early. Last night they called some states with "0% districts reporting" (based on exit polls, I guess?) which seems awfully premature.
- It seems somewhat unfair that people can donate money to religious organizations and claim them as "charitable" donations and then get tax write-offs, even though the religious organizations turn around and pour the money into things like supporting Proposition 8. I'm fairly certain there was no way to sneakily characterize No-on-8 contributions as "charitable".
- My brother lives in Chicago and he says he heard it was a positive madhouse over at Grant Park, and even by his work (2 miles north) it was pretty rowdy, with people cheering and celebrating randomly all day. Must be amazing to be there, in the middle of it all, right now.
- I find it a little ironic that on this day, when we finally voted to elect an African-American president, that 70% of African-Americans in California voted to discriminate against gay people.
- There are some fascinating tidbits in this Newsweek Special entitled Highlights of the 2008 Election. As a techie, I thought this was pretty cool: The Obama campaign's New Media experts created a computer program that would allow a "flusher"—the term for a volunteer who rounds up nonvoters on Election Day—to know exactly who had, and had not, voted in real time. They dubbed it Project Houdini, because of the way names disappear off the list instantly once people are identified as they wait in line at their local polling station.

In some ways I'm relieved the election is over. It feels like it's been going on forever, and it's been a bit exhausting, constantly being deluged by the latest polls and attack ads and political analyses. I hope this is the part where we get on with fixing the country already. I'm cautiously optimistic.

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