Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Here's Hoping the Election Ends Tonight

If you have not voted yet, please hurry to do so. While I haven't hidden my preferences here, it doesn't matter who you vote for, just that you vote. Every vote does count -- just look at the 2000 election.


I've been surprised by my own interest in this year's presidential election. It's the first time I have voluntarily watched the presidential debates, gone out of my way to read the newspaper analyses, watched biographies of both candidates on television.

It's not that I'm such a huge Obama fan (although I did vote for him). I was a Hillary Clinton supporter in the primaries and I still think she would have made a better president than Obama. And while I used to have a lot of respect for McCain, I've lost it all as I watched him cave in to the pressures of the far right and especially with his choice of a running mate.

So why have I been following things so closely? Is it just that, as all the pundits like to say, a historical election?

I don't think that's it for me.

Thinking about it, I realized this is the first presidential election in my adulthood (since reaching age 18 and being eligible to vote) that I haven't had to cover some aspect of it. Even in 1988, the first presidential election I was eligible to vote, I covered an Iowa caucus as a stringer (Boy was that an experience! I still don't understand how they work.) and was in a study-abroad program for the November 1988 election. (I still remember being approached by strangers in pubs who heard my accent asking what the heck my fellow Americans were thinking to elect the elder George Bush as president. I still don't have an answer to that other than that I voted for Dukakis.)

By 1992, I was working for The Associated Press in West Virginia, and I didn't leave the AP until after the 2004 election. During those 15 years with the AP, I was always sick of election copy long before the actual election. I always enjoyed the adreneline rush of working election night and being present when the bureau chief would make decisions on when and whether to call a race. But I always hated the mop-up afterwards, the way election stories dragged on for days (or in the case of the 2000 election, for weeks and weeks.). I don't think I ever watched a debate unless I was working that night and needed to get local reaction to it.

By the time I left the AP, I was pretty burnt out on the whole journalism thing. And of course, I had a baby a few weeks later and that kept me pretty busy. For awhile there I felt like I was doing well if I managed to get the comics read and the front page headlines scanned.

But now it's been long enough that, while I don't think I qualify as a political junkie, I do read the entire paper (except the sports section, which I only glance at headlines before recycling) every day as well as numerous magazines and websites and blogs.

So here's hoping that whoever is in the White House next January that we soon have a solution to the health care crisis (hey, I'm not entirely off topic if I mention health care, right? :), the economic crisis and all the other crises we've got going.

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