I worked as a clerk at my precinct polling station in Fort Worth, Texas, on election day. The day was a 16-hour workday for me and my wife, pretty tough for old folks, and that is why I'm just now coming up for air. My wife and I came home and crashed instead of going to the big bash for Democrats at the Hilton. We left the TV on and woke up about 1:00 AM (CST) just in time to catch the CNN rerun of President-elect Obama's historic victory speech. I think it will go down as one of the all time great political speeches.
As I watched and listened I thought about all that has happened in the last eight years, how polarized this nation has become, and how much damage requires repair. We are a nation on our knees from all that neocon rule has done over the last two terms. It's not at all clear to me that recovery is certain. It may take other miracles to see us through. Right now I am thankful for the one we have just received.
If McCain had been the announced winner-and make no mistake about it, our new electronic election system could have delivered a fraudulent victory to McCain with no possibility of a recount-I had decided that this would be the last time I would participate in an "election" or contribute any technical effort to election system reform. (I worked on that issue for two years.)
In this election, (if returns are believed) over 48 million voters voted for McCain and 52 million voted for Obama. While it was an electoral landslide, the popular vote is disheartening. I don't see how 48 million voters could be so blind or ignorant as to vote for McCain and what he stands for. We have a very serious problem with our national ability to think for ourselves caused by a failure of our educational system to prepare children for adulthood. There is no way that the kind of government Bush has inflicted on us is good for 48 million voters and their families or bears any resemblance to the kind of government the Founders envisioned.
At the polls I amused myself by mentally predicting how incoming voters were going to vote. Judging from the precinct returns, I should have guessed Republican more frequently. When a voter's clothes and accessories suggested wealth and authority I guessed they were Republican. If they wore conservative-looking Texas rancher garb I also guessed Republican. If they appeared to be an authoritarian personality I labeled them Republican. If they looked at people disdainfully I guessed Republican. It wasn't enough.
We didn't defeat enough incumbent faux Democrats to create a filibuster-proof Congress. We sent people like Pelosi back to Congress. And now we see Obama appointing one of the worst Democratic Leadership Council members as Chief of Staff. We are not off to a stellar start. Still, hope lives. As we used to say in Austin in the 1960s, "Onward through the fog!"
Obama has promise, and who knows, he may be a savior sent by God to save us from an inglorious end. Hope is still alive, though it is battered and frail. This next four-year term will be critical. At least I still have hope. If McCain had been the announced winner I think that would have been the end of the USA.