In some ways, it seems like the 2008 election was a lifetime ago. It hasn’t even been 18 months.
Barack Obama has been president for less than 15 months. They may have been the longest 14 months of my life. Longer even than the 14 months that both of my pregnancies seemed to last.
I was in a bar on Sunday night with two other people that I work with, while the Congress was voting on health care reform. We were all glued to our phones, getting texts, emails & calls, and (at least in my case) reading tweets from people who were live-tweeting the vote count. When the vote passed, we were hugging and toasting, and generally being overall joyous.
I am disappointed by the results of the health care debate. I’m disappointed that the health insurance industry managed to scare so many people, and to gut some important provisions of the bill.
I am elated that health care reform passed. I am overjoyed that the health insurance industry, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars to influence the outcome of the legislative process, did not get to have a Harry & Louise moment this time.
Right after the election, I wrote a post that described the price my family paid because of my decision to spend six months of 2008 working to get Barack Obama elected, and what I expected to get for that effort, to compensate us for that price. On Inauguration Day, I wrote another post, committing to help make change.
President Obama, I consider that debt paid in full (though I’m still hoping for an end to the Iraq War, and a de-escalation in Afghanistan). I did not work for you because of your winning smile or your eloquent ability to string some sentences together (although they didn’t hurt). I did it because I wanted to make the world a better place for my children, and I believed that you were the candidate most likely to fight for that change.
I’m glad that you kept fighting, even when I disagreed with the compromises you were making. At the end of the day, it feels like we have hope again. Change feels possible, again.
Dear President-Elect Obama,
Now that the election is over, I’m calculating the cost, cleaning up the debris, and trying to get back to my regular life. Here’s a snapshot of the price of the election, from my family’s perspective:
*missed soccer games–8
*missed trash nights–1 (the night before the election, when I was–of course–working, and landisdad was worn out from weeks of single parenting)
*additional grey hairs, seemingly grown overnight by me–1,001
*temper tantrums, thrown by my kids–eleventy billion
*temper tantrums, thrown by me–2
*temper tantrums, thrown by landisdad–miraculously, none
*number of times the Potato has called me, “Dad, I mean Mommy”–5, regrettably, this seems to be continuing in the post-election moment, it’s now up to 7
*layers of crud, covering every surface in our house–16
*fender benders, engaged in by a too-tired-to-be-driving landismom–1
*loads of laundry that never got folded, but just went straight from the hamper to the body, then back to the hamper–32
*missed bedtimes, including stories & kisses–43
*number of dirty dishes that are stacked in the sink even now–27
*number of consecutive days the Potato went without a bath in the month of October–6
*missed elementary school Awards Assemblies–1
*Watching your victory speech–priceless
I know that you have to govern the whole country, and not just the people who voted for/worked for you. Still, there are a couple of things that I expect to get in exchange for my family’s sacrifices. In no particular order, they include real health care reform that guarantees health care coverage for every man, woman and child in this country (I know that you can take the heat on the cries of ‘socialist’ that will be coming your way); an end to the war in Iraq; a restored confidence in our country from allies abroad; and a revived economy. Not expecting it all in the first 100 days, but seeing some real progress by then would be nice.
Congratulations on your victory–now get to work!
Here’s a couple of things I’ve been thinking about lately. Soon, the election-related posting will stop. I promise.
1. Last summer when the Bee and I were driving home from camp through the streets of Big City in a Swing State, she noticed a homeless woman’s camp on the side of the road. The woman had a neatly stacked pile of belongings, and had her laundry hung up on a line to dry. The Bee brightly said something along the lines of, “well, that woman seems to have made herself a nice situation, even though she’s homeless.” It was just one of the many times in the past year that something that one of my kids did or said strengthened my resolve to work as hard as possible on this year’s presidential election.
2. On Sunday, I took the Bee to work with me. In my car (which is suffering from a very bad case of campaign car* right now) was a t-shirt from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, that I had gotten at an event the prior day. We got into a long conversation about birth control, and why a group that cares about women’s reproductive health also feels the need to be politically active. I was actually excited to have that conversation, because I’ve been wondering how to start talking to the Bee about birth control, and puberty and all that stuff. When we got to the office, some of the other women who work on the campaign were talking to her, and one of my coworkers asked her if she likes any boys. The Bee indignantly reported that boys are gross. So I guess we won’t be visiting Planned Parenthood any time soon :).
3. On Monday, I canvassed a guy who told me that he had gone to see MLK speak in 1965, and how when he was growing up in Raleigh, his parents weren’t able to vote. He said, “Martin didn’t live to see this day. But I did. You don’t have to worry about my daughter going to vote tomorrow. Everyone in my house is voting!” I haven’t cried at a stranger’s door too many times in my life, but that was one.
4. For some reason, I ate less pizza and more Chinese food on this campaign than any campaign I’d previously worked on. On Saturday night, one of my coworkers decided that instead of ending every fortune cookie fortune with the phrase, “in bed,” we should all end them with “when Barack Obama is president.” My last fortune? “To be mature is to accept imperfections…when Barack Obama is president.” So true.
5. On Tuesday night, I was at a party in a hotel suite with a bunch of my team and some other co-workers, watching TV. When MSNBC called the election for Obama, we all jumped around, screaming and hugging. All of us–black, white, Latino, gay, straight, men and women–had tears of joy running down our faces. When Obama finally spoke, I had tears streaming down my face and a woman that I’ve only known for about six days came over to give me a hug. It was the election of Hope vs. Fear, and for the first time in a long time, Hope won.
*Full of boxes, dry cleaning, old turf maps, empty coffee cups, random other garbage, random raingear, campaign lit, etc.
That was the outcome of the election at the kids’ school today. When I walked in the door tonight, both of the kids were wearing their “I Voted” stickers, and the Potato came running up to tell me that he had voted for Barack Obama.
Five kids in the Bee’s class (including the Bee), and one fifth grader administered the election and presented info on both of the candidates, so we had a pretty interesting dinner conversation about it. Two weeks ago, she and the Peony had to write up a couple of paragraphs about where the major-party candidates stood on health care–the other kids did education. Last week, she and the other kids in the gifted & talented program registered everyone to vote, and decorated the ballot boxes.
It should come as no surprise, to regular readers of this blog, that the Bee had strong opinions, not just about the candidates but about her classmates’ voting patterns. Apparently there was one kid who said he was voting for McCain because he’s white–which the Bee thought was ridiculous. We also talked about how it isn’t okay to base your vote on age, gender or whether the person is gay or straight.
Four years ago, when I was working to elect John Kerry and the Bee was a tiny kindergartener, she was devastated that her school voted to re-elect Bush. I’m happy that it worked out in her favor this time, since she was so much more involved in the actual process of the election this year.
now less than a week away (can I get an amen!), I hope you didn’t think you were going to get anything other than a bunch of election-related links to video.
First up, stars of my favorite show were knocking on doors for Barack–how cool is that? We’ve had some stars come to our little swing state, too, but no one as cool as Sonia Sohn, I’m sorry to say. This is teh awesome-ist.
If only they had managed to get the guy who played Clay Davis! On second thought, maybe that wouldn’t have been such a good idea…
Next up–I know this one has been around for a week or two, but it’s still worth viewing–Conservatives for Change!
Then, of course, there’s this gem–the election PSA based on a beer commercial. What could be better?
And finally, what might just be my favorite YouTube of all time. Insanely catchy TI hook plus sooooo incredibly determined 7th graders. Plus? It’s non-partisan. Which makes up for the poor video quality. This is the bomb, IMHO.
If you’re in California, please vote against Prop. 8 for true equality. If you’re in CA or a neighboring state, consider volunteering for Equality California. If you’re neither of those things, consider just giving them some money.
H/T to AngryBlackBitch for pointing out the 8 Against 8 blogger campaign.
The summer that I turned 21, I had an internship in Boise, Idaho. For this Jersey girl, Idaho (even relatively liberal Boise) was a major culture shock. The internship I had was ridiculously underpaid—I think I made $100 per week, plus free housing—and there were some weeks when I lived on cigarettes, grapefruit and beer (oh, was I a thinner landismom then!). I was living far outside my comfort zone, and struggling to get by from week to week.
There was one week, though, that I splurged and bought a L’Oreal lipstick. I think it was an exorbitant price like $7 or something. Every time I put that lipstick on, I felt a little bit better about myself. I might be riding a bike everywhere, but dammit, I had lipstick!
I still wear L’Oreal lipstick every once in a while, and the smell of that lipstick still gives me that feeling. The day of the primary this year, while I was driving back and forth between various Get-Out-the-Vote staging locations, around lunchtime I stopped at a drugstore and bought myself a new one for luck (while it didn’t help that particular day, at least it no longer represented 7% of my weekly income). Even at 40, there’s still a newly-independent 21-year-old woman inside me, and the easiest way to reactivate her is to take a whiff of L’Oreal.
I’m not a big lipstick wearer on the daily. I tend to put it on only for formal occasions—mostly, I’m a lip gloss kind of girl. I wear lipstick on the days when I need a little bit of extra confidence, or when I’m going to be projected onto a big screen or be on TV—although I guess those days fall into the first category too.
I think I’m like many women in that way—women who don’t dress up and put on a full face everyday, but save the makeup for special occasions. (I did break down and start wearing mascara every day, earlier this year.) If 2008 isn’t the Year of the Woman, the way that 1992 was, it might be the Year of the Lipstick, with both of the female candidates (and attendant animal references) having brought a little tube of makeup to the forefront of the presidential campaign.
There’s something very emotionally charged about the wearing of makeup. Whether it’s taking us back to the moment when our first girlfriend lent us a bottle of nail polish, or the day that our mom showed us how to put on eyeliner, or the first time we opened a brand-new lipstick that we bought with our own money, makeup has emotional valences for many women.
I cast my vote for president today. As a political organizer, I rarely get to vote in a polling place on Election Day. I almost always vote absentee, because “of the nature of my employment on Election Day.” I’m not always happy about that (and it means ceding the cool “I voted” sticker, which this year, sadly, will also keep me from getting free Ben & Jerry’s!).
I voted, of course, for Barack Obama. My lipstick will be making a reappearance on Election Day, which is another day that I’m going to need a little extra confidence. But my lips will be talking about Barack.
H/T to Becca for this one:
I was stunned today to read that the McCain campaign admitted that their plan to fund healthcare reform includes cutting up to $1.3 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid.
Still reeling from the analysis that their health care plan would cost millions of Americans their health care coverage, McCain must be crazy if he thinks that this is the way to get votes in the kind of economy we’ve got right now. Plus, if you need to compete in PA and FL, does it make a lot of sense to give seniors a key reason to vote against you?
Who’s running that campaign, anyway?