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Midland, Texas, United States
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day Conversations

I hung out at Starbucks this afternoon for a couple of hours. I wanted to be around people, feel the energy, hear what they were saying, see what was going on.

Plus my "I Voted" sticker got me a free cup of coffee. And, if I weren't vegetarian, a free sandwich from Chik-Fil-A, or however they spell it.

But: the energy? Not so much. I talked to some people, and I was sorely disappointed. One guy I know, one of the baristas, said he was going to try to go on his lunch hour (dinner time) but still hadn't decided for whom to vote. This was puzzling to me, since he'd asked for one of the Obama stickers long ago (his mother came in, and she told me he'd put it on his car "just to piss people off."). His step-dad doesn't vote because of the electoral college--he says his vote doesn't matter. The young woman at the beauty supply shop where I stopped to get hair color saw the sticker and said, "Oh, yeah, today's the day to vote. I forgot." I told her she still had time, and she said she couldn't, since she was already at work.

So here it seems to be pretty much a non-issue. Apparently with no Bush running, people can't work up much interest in the whole thing. I tried to engage them in conversation--how can you not have an opinion on Roe vs. Wade, for example? And with an 88-year-old Supreme Court Justice, that matters. But, for many people, it seems not to matter as much as the disruption of their Tuesday night tv schedule. No excitement or energy here.

Sheesh. I'm going for a walk.


Pink Granite said...

So disappointing!
Enjoy your walk...
- Lee

Chris said...

I have an ongoing argument with one of the young gen-ers at work. He is thoughtful, smart and definitely opinionated. He refuses to vote because he "doesn't like any of them" and insists it all comes out the same anyway. Very discouraging!

Amy in Austin said...

I voted the second day of early voting and the polling place was swamped. I'm in Wilco which is one of the bleeding-red-conservative counties around blue-blue Austin and we almost never see that much turn out in my precinct. Today at work I passed lots of "I voted" stickers, much more so than in previous election years (mid-term or otherwise).

On a down note, I already got into a disagreement (she would not agree it was a fight) with my mother over the outcome of the election. I was going through the TX Sec of State site looking for results and she didn't want to hear about TX - didn't care, wasn't interested, wasn't happy because it's looking like the big O will win and the dems will control everything and this country will be such a horrible place on Jan 21. What I wanted to say was how much worse can it get? The economy's in the toilet, companies are laying off, we've got a bunch of soldiers stuck in Iraq fighting for this country who CAN'T VOTE because we can't get our act together to get them their ballots and God forbid that companies like Ex-Mo pay taxes on the obscene amount of profit they are making or that CEO's take a massive pay cut when they sell jobs to China or the latest low-cost-crappy-human-rights labor market to boost their bottom line. Oh and health care??? Forget about it. The Repubs have done such a FABULOUS job, dahling, that we should keep driving this bUS off the freaking cliff.

But of course, I didn't say any of this, because it's my mom and even though we obviously can't talk about politics anymore, I really don't want the cold shoulder for the next 4 years. I might get it anyway because she knows I didn't vote for Mac - and I too voted for some Repubs because straight ticket is just stupid in my part of the state - but that doesn't matter.

I am officially the black sheep of the family. My sibs are probably just happy that it's my turn in the black wool coat.

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...


Patty said...

I just posted photos of yesterday
here in rural Va on my flicker acct:

Actually, I did meet up with several jaded opinions re politicians in general and our
vote's real power. But today's
results will (I HOPE) show that
it isn't beyond our power to make
a difference. Two people I work
with didn't vote. A woman in Somalia was just stoned to death...
how can we NOT vote when laws affect our very existence?

Lordy, I'm so ready for a change.

Joanie Hoffman said...

I voted even though I was not thilled with either party. But I know it's the right thing to do, and voting is such a charge for me. I can't imagine not voting. There were no lines, but I live in a small town so that's not surprising.

Stitchwhiz said...

I was in Columbus Ohio yesterday having been there all weekend visiting Mom. I'd voted early already in TX. For Obama. Early morning getting a cup of coffee at the Speedway I talked to a couple younger black guys who were so happy and excited about the election. They said that they'd been to a Barack the Vote rally the day before at the inner city MLK community center where Mary J., JZ, and Puff Diddy were all in attendance to help get the vote out. Obama carried Ohio. What an unusual experience for me a 50-something white lady wearing a Texas Longhorns shirt to have that conversation. I can be pretty cynical too, but I love this feeling of hopefulness and I'll ride this wave as long as it lasts.

Anonymous said...

Here in Canada, I saw buttons and lawn signs and then the night of the election, people honking and yelling in the streets, one group were watching the elections outside projected onto the side of a building...

We ended up watching Obama's speech in a bar that was packed.

I only wish there had been as much excitement around *our* elections.


Ricë said...

sorry there wasn't the same excitement, dusty, but i'm guessing your incumbent isn't as big an asshole as ours. the whole world is waiting for him to leave.

of course, that means he'll be spending way too much time here in texas. some of us are hoping that now that his political days are done, he'll give up pretending to be texan and go home to kennebunkport and leave us in peace after having ruined our reputation all over the world. people hate texans because they think 1) he actually is one and 2) the rest of us are like him.

Anonymous said...

Heh, actually you would be wrong. He's as big an asshole and he got voted back in with a minority government.


Ricë said...

yikes! i'm sorry to hear that! i guess i thought we'd cornered the market on assholes and there were no more to go around.