Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Night Debrief

So many things are going through my head.

I'll start with the Election.  At around 7pm as I sat huddled in the cargo area of a beat-up Subaru in West Hollywood Park, I received a text message alerting me to the fact that Obama's win was imminent and that as a dispatcher, we needed to change plans immediately.  We were to pull the 60 people we had that were standing at polling places around West Hollywood and Beverly Hills and instruct them to start knocking on doors around the neighborhood.  We were to call 10 people and make sure that they had voted.  Jo and I looked at each other - could we actually ask folks to do that?  Would they be willing?  After all, they didn't sign up for this.  They weren't trained for this.  We started dialing.

L was willing.  He found a condo complex and started pushing buttons on the call box.  He found one woman who hadn't voted yet and he told her that her polling place was right across the street and that there were no lines.  She voted.   Ja, another dispatcher, called a volunteer that had worked with us on the morning shift (6:30 to 10am) to ask him to call 10 of his friends.  Ja reported to me and Jo that "for the first time in my life, I actually hung up on a volunteer."  You see, the volunteer was at a dinner party.  And couldn't be bothered to call 10 people.  

So Ja, Jo, and I dialed and waited in the parking lot of West Hollywood Park.  An hour later, we heard cheers and car horns honking from around the neighborhood.  The wind had picked up and was blowing debris around with ferocity.  We waited for our volunteers to return from their shift.  Group by group they did and as they returned their materials, many of them kept a flyer or two as a momento.  We chatted, thanked them, and gave them hugs.  I struggled to hold back tears as I looked at their hopeful faces and told them how much their efforts meant to me and to our cause.  S checked in just when McCain's concession speech was on and we all listened together. 

Jo left for his home.  Ja and I were going to the results party.  He looked dazed - his eyes were wide, watery.  I said, "well, what now?"  He said, "I don't know."  Ja is from Texas and has been living with another volunteer for months during this campaign.  He was supposed to go back to school this fall in New York where his girlfriend of 3 years lives, but decided to stay on with the campaign.    

When we got to the party at the Music Box, a line stretched out of the building.  As volunteers/staff, we were supposed to be guaranteed admission, but since it was also open to public, there was no more room inside.  When I complained, the bouncer pointed to the line of people and said, those people want to get in as well.  I can't let anymore people in.  "Look at them!  They're wearing high heels, skirts, makeup, and suits!  Their hair looks nice.  Those are not volunteers.  This is a volunteer", I said, gesturing to my unkempt windblown hair, XL sized campaign shirt that hung to my knees, and sneakers.  I stood outside with staff members and we grumbled and claimed bullshit.  Many went to another staff member's home to watch the results there.  They ended up spending the night.  Others of us were ushered inside by a higher up.  We waited and watched for the results from San Francisco and Los Angeles to come in.  

I left at 11pm.  At that time we were behind five points.  I went home, found Mr. Insomniac  brushing his teeth and burst into tears.  Then I went to bed.  Somewhere inside I was happy about Obama, but his victory was never in any doubt for me.  At any rate, the overwhelming disappointment drowned out any feelings of joy.  I felt cheated.

Oh, and did I mention that around 7:30pm I received a robocall on my cell phone that played a snipet of a speech by Obama where he declared that a marriage is between a man and woman to thunderous applause?  Yeah.  A Yes on Prop 8 campaign call.  Never mind the fact that Obama has condemned Prop 8.  


A Feminist Gold Digger said...

I'm still crying. I can't handle it. I want to do something but I don't know what to do.

Liz said...


I am still holding out hope that the provisional/absentee ballots will save the day...

WeezerMonkey said...

Do you know what an incredible person you are? I scoff at those well-dressed people trying to get into the Music Box!

Much love to you.