Taking a deep breath

We're getting used to the idea of a President Obama here and thinking about what it means. I keep reading and hearing about the celebrations that went on around the world, the continuing good will that seems to pop up unexpectedly on the street, the high ratings he’s garnered before even taking office. There's obviously more at work here than just “whew, Bush is gone,” or “wow, the Democrats won,” or even the historic, “America elects an African-American!” I'm reminded of that brief period after 9/11 when the world and Americans were together in spirit, the feeling that people are connected and all things are possible.

I think Earth shifted a little on its axis on November 4th. What that means for us and the world remains to be seen, but Ray and I are breathing a lot easier.

Poll Watching

We spent Election Day morning and a bit of the afternoon watching the ballots being counted at our local county clerk's office. Four years ago several “Republican thugs” (the clerk's words) spent several weeks before and during the election harassing the workers and getting in the way. This year they had new rules and volunteers like us to monitor the counting.

Since Oregon has mail-in balloting they start counting at 8 a.m. on election day. It wasn't very exciting (no thugs showed up and no one threw ballots in the trash), but it was fun to be part of the process and we met some interesting people, including two of the three country commissioners and a Monmouth city councilor and candidate for state office. I would do it again.