Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mazel Tov to Obama; now let's get to work

The election is over. It was fun to work it for the New Haven Independent...writing stories, doing some editing and watching the new president give a wonderful speech. Thanks to all those who helped by taking time from a busy day to spend a few minutes.

Did you hear that Sarah Palin wanted to give a concession speech in addition to John McCain? And if you watched McCain, didn't he seem a bit relieved during his concession talk? It almost seemed as if he put so much into his campaign that he didn't have anything left at the end of it. 

In any case, I hope he goes back to being the same principled senator he was before catching election fever. And I hope he fires all those idiots who led him down the garden path. As far as Sarah Palin is concerned, let her go back to Alaska, the state that either sent or nearly sent (depends on the still-hanging election results) a convicted felon back to the Senate.

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One of the happening places on Election Day was the Playwright tavern on Temple Street. The place was rocking, with some actual candidates and political pros (Rosa DeLauro ran out about 10 p.m., leading hubby and super-pollster Stan Greenberg). I saw a few alders in there, some Yale types and a lot of hangers-on. The place was rocking, although I couldn't appreciate it, because I was looking for an alderwoman who I was told had witnessed a fight between backers and opponents of Proposition 1. She never called me back, even the next day. 


Proposition 1 was an attempt by the Catholic Council and others to open a constitutional convention they would have used to reverse the state Supreme Court decision to allow gay marriage. It failed. The next proposition, which will allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries as long as they will have turned 18 before the general election. Good idea and it passed overwhelmingly.

I can't help but catch a little satisfaction from Jim Hines' defeat of Chris Shays in Connecticut's Fourth Congressional District. Last summer, my wife was covering an Indian (south Asian) festival where he was politicking and wanted to get a quote from him. He was too busy and his drum beater seemed too busy or too dense to figure out that hundreds of people, many of them in his district, would read this story. So, they just brushed by as if she wasn't there, as if they were too busy.

Well, Chris, now you'll have plenty of time.

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I visited a half dozen polling places during Election Day and most of the people couldn't have been nicer. There was one, however, where an official wouldn't let me in, kept insisting I get back 75 feet. I guess this guy never heard of the First Amendment. The moderator, who was apologetic, said he was new. I wanted to take a picture of people still lining up to vote an hour after the poll-closing hour to illustrate the intense interest in voting. I never did get the picture.

I don't want to name the guy or the ward, because he was doing what he thought was right. But may I suggest that better training be offered to those moderators before the next election. 

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Now that we don't have to hear about Joe the Plumber or any others with "the" as their middle names ( Smokey the Bear, Marvin the Torch, Lieberman the former committee chairman), we need to redirect all that enthusiasm generated by the election toward helping bring the change so many of us stood in line, volunteered, stuck signs into lawns, wrote blogs and in so many ways worked to bring about. 

We need to keep this commitment. There are plenty of Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity clones out there who would love nothing better than to see President-elect Barack Obama (doesn't that have such a wonderful ring to it?) fall flat on his face. Don't let that happen.

Thanks for reading. Keep it up. By the way, did you see my photo? Yeah, the grey in the beard is real, and I earned every grey hair.

Until next time...

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