What a long, strange trip it’s been…

So it’s finally November 4th, and since I can’t GOAV (get out and vote) myself, I will WTV (watch the vote) instead. But as a quick round-up, just a few images and thoughts that have stuck with me through this long, strange trip. First, a video that a few young women put together for Sarah Palin, which I thought was perfect for all those crazies who thought Hillary supporters might swing Sarah’s way. Yeah, right (sic)!

Then the roast at the Alfred E. Smith dinner, which I thought was a remarkable event; two Presidential candidates, a day after an intense final presidential debate, meet to make fun of each other and themselves. Highly recommended for politicians in India. Obama did tell us he was Superman (as if America didn’t know that already): “contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-el, to save the planet Earth,” while McCain invoked Joe the Plumber – again! – to tell us he “recently signed a very lucrative contract with a wealthy couple to handle all the work on all seven of their houses”. I have to say, McCain had brilliant comic timing, Obama much less so. But then it’s another sort of timing that will count today.

Which brings me to the final moment, that my favourite pollsters at fivethirtyeight.com wrote about, after a rally in North Carolina. In Sean Quinn‘s words, “something is stirring in America”:

Back at the rally, after the march had left MLK Gardens, I’d gone back for the car while Brett took photos, and I spotted a very old black man in a sharp Sunday suit walking slowly at the very back of the huge march. He hadn’t yet arrived at the voting center, and I decided to find him when I got back.

I wanted to go talk to him, to ask him what this moment meant to him. He was a guy who you take one glance at, and know, that guy’s seen it all. I wanted a quote. I had my journalist hat on. I thought, this will be great.

So when I got back to the voting location with the car, I went to find him in the line. Eventually I spotted him, and was ready to walk up the few feet between us and introduce myself when I stopped in my tracks.

A young black boy, no more than eight years old, walked up to this man, who was at least eighty. The boy offered the man a sticker, probably an “I Voted” sticker, but I couldn’t see. The man took the sticker and paused. Silently, he looked down at the boy, who was looking back up at the man. The man put his hand gently on the boy’s head, and I saw his eyes glisten.

I didn’t ask the man for a quote. I didn’t need to. I walked over by myself, behind the community center, and I sat down on a bench next to the track, and wept.

One thought on “What a long, strange trip it’s been…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *