TA DA! I'm back. Did ya miss me?
Mandy and I took Kurtis with us and left here around 1 p.m. to go to our precinct voting spot -out in Drifting, PA at the St. Severin's Church's Social Center.
There were a few cars in the parking lot -no one sitting around, or even milling around outside handing out any little goodies from the candidates though. And I found that nice because it gave me no call then to refuse any of these handouts which usually are from the turkey who is and has been our state rep for about 36 years now! Sorry Bud, but it's been a goodly number of years since I last voted for you and I can't think of a single, solitary issue that could possibly compel me to get the urge to cast a vote in your direction ever again.
I took my trusty little camera with me to the polls but didn't try to take any pics inside as I wasn't sure if it was permitted there and for once, I also decided not to ask any questions that might rile anyone up either.
But, I did take some shots outside the hall. Here's what our voting place looks like, what it looked like today when we arrived.
The two vehicles, side by side -dark colored one and the silver van -were the only things I saw in the way of folks advertising or semi-campaigning there. The dark vehicle had a sign on the front of it asking people to vote for Camille "Bud" George -our incumbent state rep (mentioned above, 36 years he's been our rep and that's just 36 years too long in my opinion) and the silver van had writing on the back window "McCain-Palin" -which if you haven't already figured out by any other posts of mine, I promptly ignored that bit of campaigning too then!
Two of the 3-4 cars (voters) that were parked in front of us. That's Mandy, walking towards the Hall to do her patriotic duty.
And here's Mandy with Kurtis as he makes his first entrance, walking in that is, to our voting place.
There were no lines at our poll -none outside, no waiting inside either as there was one man in line in front of Mandy and me and three people were voting at that time too.
I asked a neighbor lady who works on our local election board if they had been busy so far today and she said yes, very steady, very strong turnout. On the noon news today, a reporter for the Altoona TV station interviewed a worker at one of the polls in State College and that worker said that the number of voters they had seen thus far this morning was already more voters than they had seen the entire day of the last Presidential election in 2004! Encouraging news I think, in that at least people are coming out in droves to vote, to be a part of this very important process and that these people want to be a part of history in the making.
Mandy and I had talked for a while last night about the election -about the fears that gnaw at probably many of us on this very important day.
Both of us were/are Obama supporters. My older daughter had called yesterday and we had talked a while too about the election and our choices. Something I want to point out here -for the record -I don't dislike McCain, not in the least. Truth be told, there are many things about him I do like, but none of those things apply in the political sense. I admire and respect him very much for his service to the country, for his years spent in a cell at the "Hanoi Hilton" and that he was able to survive that incarceration and return home -a bit bent and broken from the ordeal, but at least alive, and home again. I have often liked some of his forays in the politcal world - he did have a bent there for not always going along with the party and I do tend to like that now and again in a politician. But the thing of it here is that there were just too many things -issues today that the conservative, right-wing holds near and dear that I don't want to see, don't want jeopardized either if it's something that group has their sights on changing.
Watching McCain in his appearance on Letterman -after he finally managed to reschedule and show up and not blow Dave off, ya know -and his appearance on Saturday Night Live, even in watching interviews with him of a biographical type, listening to him speak then, I liked him. But as soon as he opens his mouth and starts the campaign rhetoric, he loses me, my support, as a voter. Then he becomes what appears to me to be this testy little man, with jerky arm movements -what that has to do with the price of tea in China, I'm not sure, but it is a quirk that annoys me anyway. And, it is that person that I can't see negotiating with other world powers, that I can't see being empathetic with the common person, the "Everyday Joe -or Josephine" in America today.
Obama, on the other hand, I admire very much too but there is something about him that when he speaks, I feel comfortable, thinking of him in charge. I get a sense from him that he is thinking -always thinking, studying and weighing things out in his mind -not flying off the handle, not always sounding angry -although I've heard him speak at times when his voice was quite forceful too, which leads me to believe he is not one who can easily be led down a "garden path" -that he is not reckless in his decision making.
To me, when I view both these men on a more personal level, I do believe that Obama has more in his upbringing that gives an insight to the problems of our society today. Some of this comes to him, I'm sure, from being a black man and no doubt, even in our so-called enlightened society in which he received his education, racism was and yes indeed, it is still very evident and I'm sure he has no doubt experienced it in some degree. But aside from that, his base upbringing was not a child of wealth but rather of people who worked for a living. Now don't go get your panties in a bunch, I know all of us have worked for a living but by that I mean, worked and had to struggle a bit more than many others to provide food, shelter, clothing, health care, other incidentals that some people, when they work, don't have that many worries on pay day because their check may be ample enough to cover all those things and have a bit left over to save, even to actually invest in the stock market or other ventures. Things that all too often are NOT available, often not even in the thought picture of the future for way too many who struggle on a day-to-day basis to see that the very basics are available, as best as is possible, for them, for their family. And I get the sense from Obama that he can reach back in his mind and pull up images, memories there of his upbringing and with that, can relate then better to those of us who are in the lower income levels of our society.
So many of my favorite bloggers have been posting bits here and there over the past couple of months, the last few weeks and days of this election about their ideas, their hopes and dreams for the outcome of this election but for those of you who may not read this blog by my good friend Debo Blue, I'd like for you to read her post from yesterday -very poignant it is in her concerns for this most historic event, this election of "firsts" for our society. This post, titled "Tomorrow" expresses her view, her worries about today.
Mandy and I, my older daughter too, all are fearful though of what could happen after the election process ends today -regardless of who is the winner -of a fear of an outbreak of violence. Why? Because there is still this thing -racism, hatred, lack of understanding -that does exist in so many corners, pockets across the country.
Mandy asked me last night why someone would want to end another person's life based on politics, based on race, ethnicity, religious beliefs -whatever the reason -just "why?" And how can one fathom what causes that to erupt anyway?
Who could say exactly what went through the minds of John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, Sirhan Sirhan that impelled them to do what each of them did as they gunned down some of the best men ever to have been leaders in our country. Yes, we can list simplistic answers for each one, but what really is it that causes a person to think the only way to deal with something, an event, a rule, whatever, is to kill the person they think is responsible. How does that cure anything?
This is the biggest fear in my mind now. That once the votes are all tallied and the winner announced, Obama or McCain, that some one will crawl out from under a rock and take the hatred living deep inside there to try to wipe out either of these two men simply because one man will will and another will lose in the election and perhaps in that sick, demented soul to kill or maim the winner will be that person -or worse yet -that group's way of handling their hatred, their understanding or misunderstanding, of what that person's campaign, election and life meant to all of us, the American people.
I fervently hope that everyone, regardless of who each of us supported in this race, will accept the outcome, be willing to move forward, upward, onward, as we begin to adjust and learn more about what our new president will do -who will be selected for cabinet posts, other jobs on a high level of government and how this new president will also choose to work on the uppermost concerns of our nation today.
Can we all please "just get along" -to quote Rodney King after being beaten by the police in Los Angeles several years back?
A little more cohesiveness, understanding, and yes, acceptance too goes a long way to studying, setting up new programs to bring a renewed prosperity to our nation and working then to implement them.
Change is what we need; change is what we are about to receive too, regardless of whether it is from Obama or McCain. But the biggest change of all that is needed is for each of us to change within ourselves too, to be willing to work with whoever it is that is in charge of our country come January 20, 2009.
If ever there was a time when the words of President Kennedy need to be heeded - "Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country" - it most certainly is now and in the years ahead.