Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voting Obama in Park Slope

If I didn't, who would have?

All told, the voting experience was both exciting and a let-down. As a flexibly-scheduled grad student, I could go early, after teaching, which meant I got to see a bit of the other side of Park Slope, not the young professionals but the aging, over-educated hippies, of whom there were more than one. Frightening though it is, I can see myself one day heading in that direction.

There was this massive, round-the-block line, but apparently my proof-of-registration was enough to get me to the VIP line, that is, a line in a school gym so warm that it really did feel like school gym class. How wise I was to include a tank top among my many layers. Somehow the uncomfortable temperature made it all feel more democratic.

Everyone around me was reading something intellechul--academic papers, Renaissance thinkers--but I kept my own 19th-C-French-dude subway-reading in the bag, figuring surveying the crowd was more of a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and not wanting to be 'that guy' who just has to show his whole district he's literate.

So, the short wait was something of a let-down. As was the fact that I could not vote to explicitly support gay marriage. As was the fact that you just knew that the vote for Obama in the gym was going to be unanimous. As an Obama supporter, this pleases me, but ideological unanimity has its downside.

Now, the time's probably come to get some coffee. Me, along with every single grad student in the city, approximately 0.01% of whom are U.S. citizens. Whee!

7 comments:

Will121 said...

Phoebe,

Did you vote at the public school on 6th Ave between Lincoln and Berkeley?

I voted there this morning and the line was pretty nuts. It went to the end of the block, turned the corner, went to the end of the block again, turned the corner, went to the end of the block yet again, turned the corner one more time and then went to the end of the block almost right where it started (but just out of sight so you had to follow the line the long way around instead of walking the 20 meters it would take to get to the back of the line).

When I showed up the line seemed to be mostly young professionals who were going to be late for work, but were voting anyway, but there were people of all ages mixed in from a few old hippies to the ubiquitous stroller moms.

Did you notice that the republicans and democrats listed exactly the same candidates for all the judge positions? Got to love that one party democracy, who says we can’t emulate China’s successes. I voted for them on the republican side just to make it look a little more even before moving back to the dems for offices with 2 or more candidates.

Cheers,
Will

Phoebe said...

I thought you might be Will121--how've you been? Congrats on being the one person in that gym (yes, same one) to vote GOP, better yet for where it didn't matter. Aversion to Palin made me take the opposite route.

That's too bad you weren't able to skip ahead. The thing that took longest for my line, once in the gym, was when the aging (white) hippie in front of me took a long time patronizingly thanking each of the (of-color) volunteers for their important work, thereby blocking the entrance to the booth just before my turn came.

There was definitely a mood of self-righteousness, even more than usual for the area, but I was able to keep my contrarian impulses in check and pull the lever for That One all the same. Now I'll have to eat a lot of processed, non-local foods to cancel this out.

Whitney said...

I waited in line for an hour at 7 am, despite my also flexible grad student schedule, which I must admit kind of sucked a bit. But then again I could have experienced a similar letdown should I have zipped in and out. Who knows... and now, WHO CARES?! Yay!

David A. said...

Congratulations on your candidate winning the election.

I hope that he will do a fine job as president. That is, I hope my criticisms of him become president will be unfounded.

It's going to be something of a wilderness. Unlike with Bush these past several years, we knew what we were getting.

We don't really know what we will get with Obama.

I do suspect though that conservatives and/or Republicans will give Obama a greater berth than what Bush ever had and that is a consolation. It is comforting to know that we will not be seeing any "He's not my president" buttons worn by my side. This is for the simple fact that, of course, he's my president. He is the representative of my nation and he is now, the leader of the free world. I hope that he is up to the challenge.

Obama is now president-elect and he will need to have my support to the extent that I can give it to him.

If I can give it, I will.

Anyway, congratulations.

Petey said...

"We don't really know what we will get with Obama."

Read up on your Eisenhower history. We're going to relive that particular period.

We've got a national unity President. Republicans ought to be happy. Lefties ought to despair.

But that's not the way things are going to go. The stain of the African experience on American soil lies heavy, and ends up trumping ideology.

David A. said...

I don't know exactly what you mean by Eisenhower. If it means that he was somehow an unknown quantity, I would say that is arguable.

Americans knew that he was a victorious SAC in WWII. There are only 3 presidents that have ever had such levels of responsibility (adjusted for their time.) They are Washington, US Grant, and Eisenhower.

The USA might not have known exactly what an Ike would be like, but that is true of any president.

But, they did know that he actually demonstrated exceptional leadership at some time.

Obama has no record of ever being a leader on anything of any scale whatsoever.

So, in no way can Obama be compared to Ike.

The truth is he is not comparable to any president.

I'd also note that recent surveys had Obama in the low single digits regarding whether he was qualified to be president.

I don't think a similar survey would have said the same of Ike.

Also, I don't think he's a national unity president, at all. He won handily, yes, but the popular vote was comparable to many other presidential elections that in no way would be labeled "national unity."

Also, he didn't bring out many more voters than in 2004. McCain lost votes from his base. McCain had nearly 4 million less votes than Kerry did. It would seem that a lot of conservatives didn't vote, at all.

In any case, he got roughly the same amount of votes that GWB got, though he won more where it counted, the Electoral College.

This does not make Obama a unity president, at all.

An aside that I find interesting, but does not address anything you have written, is in respect to the youth vote. They stayed home just like they always did. It was up about 1 point this year over 2004. Oh, well....

LBJ and Reagan won about 60% of the popular vote and those are exceptional numbers.

Obama won with 52%.

National unity? No.

I do not want to make it seem that I am not impressed with the result of this election. Obama ran the better campaign. McCain didn't.

But, I do want to say that this idea that Obama has won an exceptional mandate is ridiculous, if one goes by the numbers.

So, I think you overstate the case for Obama.

Nevertheless, this election is a considerable credit to Obama.

Now, it will be time to govern and with control of both houses of Congress in Dem hands, there will be no one left to blame.

Ike, incidentally, had to fight a Dem House and Senate.

Much of what you wrote is cryptic, so I guess I'll just end my thoughts here.

And, once again, I congratulate Obama and his supporters.

PG said...

Unlike with Bush these past several years, we knew what we were getting.

Really? You thought the guy who mocked "nation building" while campaigning would jump on 9/11 to launch a war in Iraq that has consumed a great deal more in American blood and treasure, not to mention prestige, than the war in Afghanistan?

It was a surprise to me, and I'd lived under Bush when he was governor.