Yesterday, I left work a few hours early so I could avoid long lines at the polls. The only line when I got there was for voter registration. I was amazed at the number of new voters this election brought into the game. Bravo! (Then again, things had to get pretty crappy in this country to convince people that they needed to participate in the process, huh?)
We flipped between CNN, Fox News, and Comedy Central during the evening. Fox was pretty unbiased for them. Comedy Central, with Steven Cobert and John Stewart, added levity to a tense situation. CNN did a fantastic job, including a holographic interview.
The only thing I wonder is how the media can predict the outcome of a state's election with less than 20% of the precincts reporting in. I guess it is educated gambling. They probably base their predictions on bellwether precincts for the state (ones that are typically representative of how the state will go). It still makes me nervous when they do this. It always makes me think of the Chicago Tribune's flub in 1948 when they went to press early with "Dewey Elected" when Truman ended up winning.
One of the amazing things about this election is the number of states that went from Red to Blue: Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, and (especially) Florida. Indiana, Missouri, and North Carolina are still too close to call today. Heck, in North Carolina the tally between the two candidates is only about nine thousand votes apart! For the latest tally, see CNN's election map.
At the end of the evening, I watched McCain's concession speech and Obama's victory speech. McCain was extremely graceful (even if supporters were not - they booed mention of Obama several times), especially in expressing his condolences on the death of Obama's grandmother. Obama was inspiring. I liked how his supporters applauded McCain.
Obama's speech spoke to me on a few particular points. I liked how he said that we may not get the job done in one year or one term, but that we will get the job done. And, he warned that there may be some missteps along the way. I fully expect that he's right on both counts. I hope people heard this note of reason. Like a good manager, Obama is trying to set reasonable expectations. The country is in serious trouble, and all of our issues may not be addressable in a couple of years. However, I think we elected the right person for the job. Obama seems like a serious person who will make well considered decisions. I hope he plays to the center, though he's a noted Liberal. His ultimate support came from the center. Also, while he won, the country is still divided. We will definitely need the support of a lot of folks on the other side to resolve our issues, so it's best not to alienate too many of them.
I am really proud to be an American today. I actually agree with John McCain on at least one thing: We are the greatest nation on Earth. (Flawed? Yes. But head and shoulders above the rest.)