November 2008
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Month November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I'm sitting drinking coffee in what will be one of the last completely quiet moments for the next few days.  In a couple of hours friends and family will start arriving for two days of Thanksgiving food and fun.  In a few minutes I'll start preparing a few things, even though we're going to Steps tonight for Madden's island Thanksgiving and saving the "big" traditional dinner at my place for tomorrow.

But for now, the coffee is hot and strong, and the mountains of the Canadian coast range are visible to the north, with hints of blue sky to the west past Speiden Island.  It's a perfect autumn morning in the Northwest, at least from my perspective, and I'm thrilled to be home to enjoy it.  It's been a whirlwind few weeks since the election and it's not going to get any less busy between now and Christmas. 

I bought a cider press this fall and have plenty of apples from C's orchard here on the island, and many more from Rebecca Moore's terrific farm (Blue Moon Farm) on Waldron Island. I still have plenty left to press, but the cider thus far is sweet, deeply flavored, but with great tartness and acidity.  I've frozen a gallon already and hope to press-gang my friends into helping me squeeze more this weekend. 

I'll write more soon, but I just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone reading out there.  Enjoy the day with friends and family!

It’s Election Day…

I haven't gone to bed yet, feeling a bit of insomnia tonight.  It's November 4th, and in a few hours the polls will open back east.  The impression that a starter's gun will go off and kick off voting is a bit of an illusion; many, including myself, voted days or weeks ago.  But the sensation of pent-up energy and release persists, because despite early voting and absentee ballots it really all does come down to today. 

Unless something very inexplicable is wrong with the polls (not exit polls, the national and state polls), there's every chance that in sixteen hours we'll be seeing the United States of America elect its first African-American president, and by extension its first president who wasn't a white male.  At the same time we're also possibly electing a direct successor to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in the sense that we're electing a Democrat in the face of a widening and deepening economic crisis and recession-threatening-depression.   

I'll have more to say when and if this happens, but suffice it to say that tonight  might witness the civil rights movement unify with New Deal economic policy in a way that has not occurred since Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." 

This is a tall order, and none of us know whether Barack Obama can lead us towards something as significant as that.  The signs are improving.  At this point, however, all we can do is hope. 

Tomorrow, there will be much to think about, and much to participate in, and much to do.   In the coming weeks after the election I hope to elaborate on what I think it will take. Today,  I'll hold my breath with the rest of the country and await our collective democratic decision as a free society. 

But there's more than just hope here.  I feel something stronger coming on, when I talk to people.  Obama's will not be an ordinary presidency, just as it has not been an ordinary campaign. 

And later today, we make that possibility real. 

Congratulations, Democrats!

No, I'm not congratulating us on victory, it's too soon for that.  But before we head into tomorrow, I wanted to stop and reflect on how well we've done as a party this year. 

From historic candidacies to a bitter and hard-fought nomination battle, record fundraising and organizing, to effective use of the media, we've done well.  Democrats did not fall apart after the bitter and divisive nomination fight between Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama, as many predicted.  Apart from a very small minority, the party as a whole put the battle behind us and unified behind our candidate. 

But the thing I'm most proud of — whatever happens tomorrow — is how hard we've fought and how well Sen. Obama has campaigned.  We've contributed and volunteered in record numbers, and the Obama campaign has used this unprecedented war chest to force the Republican Party to use their resources to defend their "safe" ground. 

I was tickled pink to learn that the Obama campaign was putting the heat on in Arizona last week; nobody really thinks Obama is competitive there, but it's close enough that the strategy forced Sen. McCain to spend resources badly needed in true "swing" states in order not to lose his home state.  And everywhere else in the country, the Republicans are on the defensive, trying desperately to prevent tomorrow from becoming a 1932-style rout and realignment. 

So whatever happens tomorrow, and I'm not making any predictions, I'm proud of Democrats this year.  We finally got inspired, and got mad, and it shows.  We're fighting like the scrappy champions of the middle and lower classes that we should be.   Onward to Inauguration Day!