Wow. What an amazing 24 hours it’s been.
Yesterday I came home from work and sat down in front of my computer to monitor the election. Burlington blogger extraordinaire Bill Simmon recently set up a citizen forum called Exit Voices that I spent some time at. From there, I clicked over to our local community access news channel’s streaming video feed of election coverage. Not only did I see Bill himself acting all reporterlike, I saw my own comment on Exit Voices scroll past onscreen. Ha!
Meanwhile, I was also cycling between three excellent Vermont political blogs, The Carpetbagger Report, Green Mountain Daily, and Vermont Daily Briefing. Also, for up-to-the-minute vote counts, CNN.com. Things were looking good, REALLY good. CNN called the Senate and House races for Vermont early on, and they were in line with the poll numbers: Sanders for Senate and Welch for Congress. The race for governor was still up in the air, though things weren’t looking too promising for Parker. Oh, well — I expected it.
What I didn’t expect was that Democrats would do so well nationwide. By 9:30 PM, it was obvious they were going to regain the House, and the Senate was looking more promising than I had ever imagined. I was getting excited. I considered calling my Mom, who is a dyed in the wool Democrat and used to be a reporter for the Times Argus. She knows politics and makes a point of staying informed. But I felt like getting out. Then my brain finally registered that Channel 17 had said the Democrats were rallying at the Wyndham Hotel… which is only three blocks from my house! So I threw on my coat and headed down there.
It wasn’t quite a madhouse, but it was close. Scads of people were gathered in the Adirondack room, which had a stage set up at one end. Scores more were clustered in the halls talking and drinking. As soon as I arrived I ran into some of my co-workers (they’re a liberal and involved lot overall) as well as some other people I knew. One of them told me that the Sanders campaign had their own room reserved upstairs. Over the summer I donated my computer skills to the Sanders campaign office, but I hadn’t been over there for a while. So I went looking for them to say hi. It was surprisingly easy to just follow the foot traffic to the Sanders HQ, and I immediately saw Scott Eagle, one of the people I was looking for. We had a nice chat, and I assuaged my guilt about not calling him back the last time he left me a message. (My excuse: I’ve been really overworked.) Bernie had already delivered his victory speech, so everyone was looking kind of tired and relieved. Relieved that he had won, and relieved that the punishing schedule was at an end.
When I returned downstairs I found the other Sanders campaign guy I know, Seth Engel. He had a glazed look about him and told me he hadn’t slept in days. “This is the craziest thing I’m never going to do again,” he said (I think — it was loud). Heh heh.
Then Peter Welch took the stage to declare his own victory. I was in the thick of the cheering, sign-waving, balloon-bouncing crowd, and it was great. The speech ended with all three Vermont representatives — Welch, Sanders, and Leahy — putting their arms around each other and beaming at the crowd while music pounded out across the room. I found myself thinking, “There they are, three bald white men… god bless ’em.”
It took me a while to calm down once I got home. This morning I was tired, but I soon energized when I looked at the election results. We have the House, and that means that we have the first ever woman Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Yay! We probably have the Senate as well. And this afternoon we got the icing on the cake: Donald “Scummy” Rumsfeld has resigned. Yes, he’s probably a scapegoat to deflect some of the Democratic wrath, but DAMN! It feels great to have him gone.
The glow of this day will take some time to fade.