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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dewey Defeats Truman

Yes, I was only eight, but we were Trib readers and I remember the headline, and my midwestern father's horror when the error was revealed (even though he had briefly, in his youth, been an FDR democrat). Nobody thought Truman could win. I think that's why nobody has dared to call this race in advance, even when it seemed impossible to be wrong.

I couldn't vote in the 1960 election (you had to be twenty-one then, and I had just turned twenty) but I remember watching the famous JFK-RMN debate on a rented dorm TV set (TV wasn't at all a part of college life then), and going to see Dick and Pat in a motorcade in downtown Boston. I remember staying up for most of the night to watch the returns (a different rented TV) and feeling disheartened and a little frightened when that young, untested senator had prevailed. What about Qemoy and Matsu? Even in that hotbed of liberalism I was still my father's daughter.

I've voted since 1964 (12 times for President -why does it seem like more?) and I'd have a hard time remembering which candidate I actually voted for in many of those elections. More than once it was for the third-party candidate, or even a "wasted" vote on the Libertarian. I always felt as if I were voting "against" someone, rather than "for" someone.

Yesterday was the first time I can actually remember casting a vote with strong conviction and the fervent hope that my candidate would win. It was a great feeling. And now that he has won, I can participate in the national euphoria - so like the one that followed the 1960 election.

As my ten-year-old granddaughter told her father, while being tucked in (way past her bedtime), "now I understand why you wanted us to stay up".

3 Comments:

Blogger nina said...

I voted far far less but when I did, here, in the States, it was with the belief that my choice would be the better choice for all. Of course. That's how one votes. But yesterday, for the first time I truly thought that my choice was a great choice. For the country and beyond. They are saying that he ran an almost flawless campaign. Small wonder: Obama has the talent and wisdom it takes to be a superb. ANd he has the patience to withstand attack brilliantly, steadily. Remember Senator Jacob Javits? He once said (my daughter pointed me to this -- an article from 1958) that the first Black president will have to be well educated, internationally inclined and most of all, he will have to be able to withstand desperate, vicious attacks. Javits said we'd elect a Balck leader by 2000. So he was off only in this time prediction.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Your grand daughters words brought tears to my eyes. I am so joyous that my grand children/our grandchildren will have this as a "norm" in their lives. So glad it is happening in our lifetimes.
So happy. So elated. So hopeful.
I want to dance and sing.
Thank you Barack and Michelle Obama for having the courage to do this. And thank you America for voting him in!!!!

Wow!

7:02 PM  
Blogger diana said...

I love your expression what this vote and election means for so many of us - and of Nina's retelling of Javits' prediction. I can smile again and believe again that democracy works!

3:38 PM  

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