oh happy day

I am moved by the election of Barack Obama in a way that is totally new to me. I have been spontaneously crying since Tuesday night. It doesn’t take much…even just the slightest nice human display makes me feel patriotic. Patriotic. I’m taking it back. The flag never should have become specific to one party anyway.

Thank you for your incredibly thoughtful and moving stories about why you voted and what you experienced on election day. They, of course, made me cry.

My election day story is rainy and full. I got up early with heart pounding fast like on Christmas morning for a six year old. I performed my usual kid, dog, cats, getting-ready-for-work shuffle with a new clip. Then bug and I walked the two blocks in misty, early morning hopefulness to our polling place. I stood in a short line and exchanged thin, slightly weary but optimistic smiles with my neighbors.

My booth was barely big enough for me, bug and my ballot. I was carrying her on my front so she was looking up at me all smiles and giggles as I darkened my ovals. I was voter number 111. I decided that was lucky.

I went to the museum and tried to work but the entire staff was moving about like hummingbirds with msnbc streaming on one coworker’s computer. At noon I left to canvass with a friend in a tiny strip of numbered streets between East Missoula and Bonner. The air was wet and cold. We walked and knocked and left reminders to vote by 8pm. After four hours, we headed back into town for a beer.

It had felt good to move and make the effort. I get it. That is what Obama is about. He makes people want to move and make an effort. It isn’t about his being the first African American president. That is amazing and important, but for me it is about his ideas and ability to mobilize and motivate. I desperately love the thought of my once-apathetic country giving a shit. Yes, We Can. It’s perfect.

I went home and was all twitchy and wound up so I went for a run. The porter in my belly slowed me a bit but Alice and I trotted through the dark, rain soaked streets and thought about how different everything would be in a few short hours. I was present and strong.

Once home we listened to NPR on top volume on every radio in our house, eventually turning on our fuzzy tv to watch the states turn red and blue. I about had cardic arrest when I thought Montana was going blue. And, then it was announced. Obama is the 44th president elect. Andy and I just started laughing. We opened champagne and watched and listened. With renewed confidence in the system we call democracy. With renewed confidence in my decision to have a kid.

I really wish I could send each of you a jar and maybe next year I’ll be productive enough to do it! But I had to pick one…And the winner? Finny! What’s your pleasure? Plum, apricot or peach butter?

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Also, it’d be swell if you voted for my site on Divine Caroline (I am a home and food award nominee). I could win cash! And if I do, I promise another giveaway.

9 Responses to oh happy day

  1. TRB Holt says:

    Yea for Finny!,(go for the peach).

    I too am still very emotional, you & I are indeed related.

    I was thinking just yesterday, on August 4, 1961, a man & woman gave birth to a little boy and named him Barack Obama…all these years we have been waiting for him. I wonder what is store for Margot?

    You know me and movies, I wonder who will win the rights to make this one!

    I got a kick out of your dad on the night of November 5th, we had just finished dinner, I was cleaning up the kitchen and he said, “let’s go watch Obama”. Just like that, and that’s what we did. Obama is now my favorite series to watch; one I will watch for the rest of my life!

    xo, mom

  2. TRB Holt says:

    PS…I already voted for you on Divine Caroline :}

  3. Sage says:

    Hi Nici,

    Your words are so right on and so relevant! For the first time in my life I want to be involved, I want to watch what is next with our president, I have hope in my childs future, and mostly I am just so stinking happy to feel like we can evolve, we can have a future, and we can make progress. What more can you ask for, but a little faith and a little hope…

  4. cjs says:

    loving “darkened my ovals”…the post canvassing beer…the shared laughter and champagne with andy…this system we call democracy…and finally, the name finny.

  5. Patia says:

    What a beautiful bug! She’s adorable.

    It isn’t about his being the first African American president. That is amazing and important, but for me it is about his ideas and ability to mobilize and motivate.

    I totally, 100 percent agree. You nailed it.

  6. And Montana almost went for Obama. What a night, day, and week. It’s amazing.

  7. Lisa Blair says:

    I, too, am very happy that Barack won. I’ve been so angry at my country for the past ten years – all of my voting life! First, over the lost 2000 election, the first one I was able to vote it. I proudly voted for Al Gore and felt the election was stolen by the Good Ole Boys club. And in 2004 – how could America elect Bush-Cheney again? I still find that so hard to forgive.

    This week, I also have renewed confidence in government. I think Barack can move this country forward. But, I am still mourning the lost time. Time when our planet is suffering and our government has done nothing. When jobs are being lost and government has done nothing. And Katrina. Katrina just about sums up government’s indifference.

    So, I am certainly hopeful about America’s future. And still, I’m not quite ready to forgive it over the past.

  8. It’s good to hear someone else is spontaneously crying too. I can’t help it! I sat in a room full of crying adults election night, and then spent much of the week crying on and off.

    I’m a patriot. We’ve taken back that word. I love my country.

  9. jen says:

    i was so eager to go and vote for you the day i read this…i forgot to comment.
    yeah. i’ve felt very emotional too. so unlike myself during elections.
    i heard a woman telling a story of when she was 4, she went with her grandfather to vote, and he was not allowed to do so. they were stopped by men with guns. her grandfather used a phrase indicating that someday… someday it would happen. and during this election, her son (named after her grandfather)…voted for the first time. it was so touching and beautiful in her words. mine don’t do the story justice.
    i feel like i’m already living in a world that is a little brighter.