I was searching for an email address last night and came across this appropriate email from my dad, who passed away almost three years ago.
It is over. Kerry conceded this afternoon. He couldn’t win Ohio even with the provisional ballots yet to be counted. Bush gave his triumphant winning speech.
The stock market went up dramatically today. The really big winners were the oil and drug company stocks. They will benefit greatly from the Bush victory. I guess that Bush subscribes to the trickle down theory that if these industries do well it will somehow benefit everyone.
At least Crane is out and we will have a great new senator from Illinois (Obama).
At the time of the 2004 U.S. election I was traveling by bus on dirt roads from Jinghong, China to the Vietnamese border. Besides a horrible Danielle Steel novel, the only thing that helped pass the time was the anticipation of election results once I got back to civilization. Email and TV access in SaPa, Vietnam was scarce and my dad sent me updates on the whole vote counting mess. I knew about Obama from his campaigning before I left for phase I of my trip and I was just as excited to see him elected as I was the see my long-time nemesis Phil Crane defeated.
More recently, I had some long conversations with locals in Africa who were incredibly excited about Obama. A 15 year-old Kenyan boy asked me about the odds of him winning the Democratic nomination and we talked about racism vs sexism in the U.S. The conversation was one of the few highlights of my overland trip in a cage from the Ethiopian border to Nairobi. All of Kenya must be going nuts right now (in a good, non-riot way) with the news that Obama is the presumptive nominee. When entering Kenya from Uganda the border guard noticed my place of birth on my passport (Illinois) and with a big grin asked me to tell Barack she said hello.
My dad would have loved this election and I’m sorry he won’t be able to cast a vote in November. He always supported my interest in politics and never discouraged me from setting out a democratic-themed pumpkin on Halloween in my heavily Republican town. I was only 15 in the picture below, and wasn’t old enough to vote for either candidate on my pumpkin but today I feel the same sense of excitement and hope for the future of U.S. politics that I felt back then.