When I watched President Elect Obama make his speech last night, I felt it was just him and me. He was talking to us individually, wasn't he? I've never really felt that way about a leader before. I appreciate the restoration of patriotism. Maybe it's newly found.
Neighbors were over last night and I made rice and beans and we fist-pumped every announcement of a freshly-anointed blue state. When red states were called I secretly thought, Oh no, even though we were far ahead the whole night. It was hard to trust anything. Even when the screen switched to the words "Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States," I shook it off. I was on the phone with Betsy. I told her and she said, "Really? Already?" We both switched to other channels and the internet. Really? Really.
My girls were hugely involved in this election. We had many discussions about propositions and the candidates, and they campaigned enthusiastically for Prop 2 & Obama. Prop 2 passed by a landslide here in Cali (whoohoo!) and I told the girls this morning, "The hard work that you guys did for Prop 2 will now help ease the suffering of 20 million animals. That's amazing. You guys should be so proud of yourselves." They blushed and smiled. The impact was great; the realization that with action and a voice they could accomplish something. Most people I know haven't felt that before, or hadn't before last night.
Maya volunteered two separate times at the Obama call center. The center was packed with middle school students every single day. Some days it was so crowded the center said there were no more phones and the kids would have to make calls on their own cell phones. And they did. It was ingenious to recruit the youngens of liberal parents. They were knowledgeable for the most part, easily given permission from us, and they were uninhibited to make phone call after phone call to strangers in Montana. "Hi, can we count on your support for Senator Obama this Tuesday? Yes? Oh cool!" Or "You're voting for McCain? Oh ok, bye." Or "Oh yea, sorry we'll take you off the list. Sorry 'bout that."
Both Maya and Mina were able to vote at school. At Maya's middle school they held a more detailed election where they voted for the presidency and on the major propositions. At Mina's elementary school, they got to go into mock booths set up in the cafeteria and cast their vote for president. And again I was thrilled to see their voice reaffirmed. They believe their vote matters. They haven't been shown or told any differently.
And to you my friends and to the country in general, thank you so much for your involvement and action during this election. We all made a difference. I found the spirit of democracy infectious and inspiring. I feel alive and hopeful.
I leave you with this year's school pictures.
Mina, 9, 4th grade. Awaiting her photo is always a surprise. Like, surprise! I'm wearing something completely different than what I left the house in on picture day. Or surprise! I decided to water down my bangs at recess and go for this look. Oh Mina, I love you so much. Maya, 13, 8th grade. A true beauty inside and out. I love you so much too, Maya. My little citizens are steady on their pace to become world-changers, if they aren't doing it already.