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I’m not feeling particularly eloquent tonight.  That’s okay, I’ll let the President Elect be eloquent for me.

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In recent days, I’ve heard/seen Barack Obama described as cocky, arrogant, and elitist.  (Yes, still with the elitist argument…puh-leez.)  Anyone who watched this speech and still associates those adjectives with our President-to-be wasn’t listening and is simply trying to justify their dislike of him.

Oh. My. Gosh…We did it.  This is for us.  For our children.  For our parents.  For our neighbors.  For our brave soldiers, sailors, and flyers.  For our relationship with the rest of the world.  For our brothers and sisters who are without homes or without healthcare.

I did not vote for a perfect man.  I did not vote for a man who can singlehandedly change the world.  I voted for a man who believes in the ability of people working together to change the world.  I voted for a man who doesn’t owe anything to anyone except his own conscience and the 300,000,000 people he represents to the world.  I voted for a man who will do his best to fulfill the promise of health and safety for all people.

I also voted for a man who is obviously in love with his wife and incredibly loving towards his children.  Being married to such a man, I’ll admit, it warms my heart.

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I appreciated Senator McCain’s speech this evening.  I have said for ages that I believe John McCain is a great man.  I disagree with his proposed policies, and I would have been disappointed to see him elected President, but I admire him.  I also believe his campaign was out of his control some time ago.  He took some bad advice, handed over the reins, and lost control.  You could see it in his eyes at rallies…he knew he was sinking.  He was embarrassed by the misleading fear-mongering being propagated on behalf of his campaign.  I believe President-Elect Obama knows the real John McCain, and I hope they will work together in the future.

It’s a difficult week for us, on a personal level, but we are light-hearted.  Yes, we have hope.  Yes, we can.  Yes, we did.

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The early voting lines were outrageous in a lot of places, including here in some of our Georgia counties.  Isn’t it wonderful?

No, although I lived in England for a bit, where queuing up is a national pastime, I haven’t adopted it as one of my favorite activities.  Instead, I’m simply elated that people are so charged up by this election.  They’re getting involved.  Voting is important to them.

I’ve said for years that voting in America is not only a right, but a responsibility.  We are in a representative democracy.  We elect the people who will shape our country, and if we don’t vote, how can we take any ownership or pride in it?

I stood next to a woman for three hours on Thursday while we waited to vote.  I didn’t learn her name, but at one point, she shared with us that she had taken personal time off work to vote.  Her employer had sent a company-wide email the previous day, stating that they did not pay their employees to stand in voting lines.  The polls were open until 7:00, and they could all vote after work.  Well, lines after working hours were well over 4 or 5 hours in our county (a poll worker told us that he had stayed ’til 10:30 two nights that week, and until after midnight one night), and who knows what it will be like on the fourth, so she took it upon herself to trade some of her precious personal hours to fulfill her right and responsibility as a citizen.

That is how important this election is.

My new friend, Tina, and I voted together today.

I met Tina when we were parking our cars, about 1/4 mile from the early voting site.  She was getting her portable chair out of the trunk, too, and we walked to the line together.  We talked, we stood or sat together and read, she read while I crocheted.  Three hours later, we left, knowing little more about each other than that she has a 22-year-old daughter and a mother who is a 16-month breast cancer survivor (Go, Tina’s mom!!) and I have 8- and 5-year-old sons and a mother who is a 25-year Hodgkin’s survivor (Go, Mom!).  Neither of our mommies likes us to worry about them, but we do anyway.  She works in a lab, and I am a stay-at-home mom.  We both like to smile and joke.  I stopped short of hugging her good-bye when we parted company at our cars (I know not everyone is a hugger like I am), but I sort of wish I hadn’t.  I thought about getting a photo of the two of us together, but my camera was without its memory card.  We avoided talking politics, beyond some generalities, and I wonder if today was a momentous one for her, as it was for me.

So, Tina, whose last name I don’t know, who drives the SUV, thank you for sharing your morning with me.  I’ll be thinking of you on Tuesday.

My boys

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