Friday, November 9, 2012


Pizza box art by Byron - Explanation of photo far below

I don't love a good debate, so when it comes to politics, I have my opinions, but I have no desire to argue with anyone about them or convince everyone that I'm right.  I tend to say "I'm not political" but in truth it's more that I'm just quiet about my politics.  I'll set that aside for this post, in honor of the election earlier this week, but my intent is for this post mostly focus on what I witnessed this election rather than how I voted.

The right to vote...

A month before the election I posted the following on Facebook:

My Facebook page stays pretty non-political, 
but as we are a month out from the next presidential election, 
I'd like to encourage everyone to consider voting.

How ever you vote, and whether or not you do, 
please take a moment to be grateful 
for living in a country where you have that choice.

Yes, while I'm incredibly grateful that I am able to vote, it is equally important that I have the choice to vote if I wish.  I never really thought about that until the 2008 election when a friend of mine was being lectured by someone else because she said she wasn't voting.  That's when I recognized the value of that choice.

The act of voting...

In Washington we vote by mail.  It's brilliant.  It makes me a little nostalgic when I think of the voting stations set up at my elementary school, and I still tear up when I heard stories about people waiting in line for hours to vote, but...they really shouldn't have to wait in line for hours!  It's 2012!  (That said, I'm totally against moving to online voting!)  The only downside to our mail in system is that our ballots can be POSTMARKED until 8pm on election day, which means it can take several days for ballots to received, verified and counted.

The weight of your voice...

It's no secret, Washington is true blue state.  I have friends who feel like their votes don't count because our electoral votes will end up being cast as Democratic.  Right now, in Washington...that may be the case, but your vote IS still important.  This year we saw some CLOSE races across the country, and we're seeing the demographics of our voters shift.  Truly, anything is possible.  You certainly have the right not to vote, but I hope your choice isn't based on the belief that your vote doesn't matter.  In Washington, we're still counting ballots, and for some of our races every vote DEFINITELY counts.

The crowd awaits...

I've never gone "out" on election night - until this year.  Being "not very political," I can't stand watching political coverage.  I hate the hashing and rehashing of statistics, projections, and the blah, blah, blah of it all.  It was the promise of pizza with friends that lured me to a restaurant on Tuesday night, where I sat with my back to the tv.  "You can tell me when something exciting happens," I told my friends.  It turns out, they didn't have to tell me - the ENTIRE restaurant did.  With cheers and shouts and clapping and booing.  The energy was incredible.  At 8:30 I tweeted "First time I've ever watched election results in public-it's definitely more fun this way. Especially when you're winning :-) #Election2012"

Oh, Team Pizza?  Team Pizza is a long running joke between Byron and me.  It's actually sports related - from when we went for pizza one Sunday and when the waiter approached us he listed off two team names as a question (as in, which team are you rooting for).  We stared at him blankly for a second before saying "Um...we're here for pizza...?"  That's what we get for eating in sports bars.  Luckily, Team Pizza lent itself very well to election night - jokes about food were definitely all over social media that day.

Being in that restaurant looked and felt like when people gather somewhere to watch sports (or so I've heard...I've never really done that), but I didn't really appreciate the magnitude of the election until today - a few days later.  All of those people - the country, and on some level - the world were watching the results just as attentively as they (not I) would watch any sporting event...but what we were witnessing was so much greater than ANY game.  It was the result of the actions of the entire country as a whole - whether or not you voted.  It was more REAL than any newsroom, headquarters or rally could convey.  While our system isn't perfect, election day is truly representative of the beauty of our system at work.

The results are in...

I don't think I need to tell you who won the presidency.  I'm sure you have that figured out.  But depending on where you live, you may or may not have heard about Referendum 74 - a bill in Washington State allowing same sex couples to marry.

I've already said I'm not here to fight [with anyone on my secret blog], but I will say that the only "real" arguments I've heard against Ref 74 always come back to religion, and this bill, as written, does not force any religion to recognize same sex marriage.  What it does is keep a healthy separation of church and state while allowing consenting, loving individuals of the same gender the equal rights and securities of marriage that I am allowed as a heterosexual.  I absolutely respect the right of each religion to choose what they are willing to recognize as a marriage within their church, but I feel it is a disgrace to tell two adults that they can not legally be married based on their gender.

I hope that in my lifetime we will say "Remember back when our gay friends weren't allowed to marry everywhere in this country?  We've come so far!"  At least I know I can look forward to telling my children about the day we voted for marriage equality in Washington State and won.

The celebration continues...

By the time we were done eating dinner, most news sources had projected that Obama would be re-elected, but Ohio still hadn't been called.  Things were looking positive (for Obama and Ref 74 - despite less than half of the votes being counted in Washington State) and we knew by Twitter and Facebook that people were beginning to gather at 10th & Pike in our neighborhood to celebrate.  Since we were already out and about, we decided to check it out.  What a scene!  I'm so grateful that I was able to witness the 1000+ people taking over the streets that evening.  Roads blocked off, music playing, people dancing, people singing, champagne being sprayed everywhere - it was insanity.  In a good way.  Christine, Sara and I borrowed some signs for a quick pic...

Photo by Byron

...and we spend the night wandering around - enjoying and participating in all of the merriment.  Thanks to my backup phone charger, by the end of the night I had one of the last functioning cell phones on the hill and tried to snap as many pics as possible.  Unfortunately lighting wasn't ideal, but I did catch some decent (for phone) video footage.  I sorted through it that night and managed to piece together 7 or so clips into a little montage of the joyous highlights.  Knowing that it wouldn't be relevant if I didn't post it IMMEDIATELY - I stayed up and wrestled with iMovie.  Even though everything I create in that program is mostly by accident, I did manage to create and publish a short video on YouTube...

Shaky and blurry, it conveys the spirit of election night much better than any of my photos will be able to do.  My plan of going home after dinner and doing laundry that night didn't pan out, but instead I witnessed history in the making, and for that I am incredibly thankful.


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