Friday, November 7, 2008
It's three days after the elections, and Montana is still stunned. By what? By the fact that Obama won. The hunters bought into the NRA bull, and are waiting for Obama to come and rip their rifles right of their hands. It's hunting season. Check out these tasty venison steaks.
But there are plenty of ecstactic people about. I like to say that Montana is a purple state. We've got the unique Democrat Governor Schweitzer with his Lieutenant Gov. Bollinger- a Republican. They were re-elected, crushing their Republican opponent by 2 - 1.
McCain won in Montana , winning 50 percent of the vote, Obama winning 47 percent. Ron Paul of the Constitution Party caught 2 percent of the vote, and Ralph Nader, 1 percent. So, we are pretty purple. We have less then a million people, children included, living out here. Over 450,000 voted. We had three electoral votes, the same number of votes that Washington DC, Delaware, Rhode Island, North Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii had. Pretty small potatoes, so it was flattering that we were courted so nicely.
Obama visited Montana three times, including on the 4th of July. McCain and Palin never came by. Obama opened 18 offices around the state, and hired dozens of staffers.
Jim and I spent Election Eve in a Democrat bar called Reds (go figure) in Kalispell. It was amazing watching CNN on the big screen. New England went blue pretty fast. The cheers were heard all the way to the court house, where they were still voting until 8 PM Mountain Time, when Ohio turned blue. We were nervous though. Exit polls have been wrong before. We got kind of tired, and a little apprehensive. California was nowhere near coming in yet, so we booted twenty miles for home, hitting our living room just in time to hear McCain.
What a concession speech McCain gave, one of the best and most sincere of his campaign. Luckily, Palin was told not to speak. Golly gosh, didn't want to hear her. Then the pressure built to hear Obama's speech. The Grand Park field in Chicago was so crowded. I am old enough to remember Jon and Bobby Kennedy, and got very nervous about the tall buildings surrounding the park. Oprah and Jesse Jackson were crying along with thousands of other people in the field.
And then the future President of the United States stepped out with his family and wowwed us. He gave us all the audacity of hope. He was sober, he was serious, he was realistic, he was ready to work. A momentous moment in time, indeed. We called some relatives, because this was really it. People have been working for months to hear this speech, and man, was it good to hear.
We all got to hear it out here in Montana, and it was two hours earlier for us than it was for Cape Cod. The next day, people asked me, Is he really a Muslim? Wasn't he born in Kenya? Doesn't he have a fake birth certificate? Has he even voted in the Senate recently? They asked me, because I've been driving around with an Obama sticker on my bumper since pre-primaries; there is no Biden on my sticker, it was manufactured pre-Biden. I'm glad I could tell them all about Obama, and could even tell them to go to Google Maps to follow "Barack Obama's Journey" which is right there and ready to go and show. Very cool. And how he flew in to make key votes in the Senate. And how, of course he is an executive. Have you any idea of how much money he raised twenty dollar bill by twenty dollar bill, how many citizens he encouraged to sign up to vote, how many offices are set up around the country, how many people are working for him, and how he keeps tabs on all of it? Show me any other executive with that kind of energy going right now, please.
I spent Wednesday watching CSPAN and the positively wonderful reaction from around the world that we have elected Obama. It made me realize how very important we are to the whole world, and the importance of the meaning of the word American, and how it has changed so drastically in the past eight years.
It amazes me how people will believe anything when it's convenient. Now the McCain supporters have to play catch up, and they really want to know- who is our new president? Some are truly scared. But President Bush is relieved. He gets to hand over his wars to Obama. He had a thousand staffers out on the White House lawn yesterday, emotionally instructing them to do all possible to make this transition as easy as possible. It's the first time in decades that a president has been able to just hand over his wars and walk away from all the stress. Yes, I would say Bush is relieved.
And I am relieved. Jim and I had our passports out, and have been considering Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico as our country slowly tricked away from us through the Bush years. Now, the audicity of hope is upon us, and we're staying put.