Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Amazing, isnt it?

There are some things that surprised me about this election. The fact that Obama won is not one of them, and the fact that I'm not surprised that an African-American has been elected president speaks volumes.

I'm dealing with a semi-nasty cold, the first one I've had in years, and I ran out of steam last night. I physically could not stay up, even though I wanted to. But, by the time I went to bed, the die was cast, I knew who was going to win.

The fact the Obama won Indiana and Virginia, and most likely North Carolina (tho 24 hrs later it's apparently still too close to call), is nothing short of amazing. Usually Indiana is called as quickly as Kentucky, and its for the Republicans. When it wasn't, that was the first indication something unique was going on. When hours went by without North Carolina or Virginia going Republican, that was also quite telling.

In 1964, Lyndon Johnson, from Texas, pushed through the voting rights act & civil rights act. In 1968, the deep south went for George Wallace - the last 3rd party candidate to win any electoral votes, and most of the time since the south has been solid Republican in presidential elections, with the exception perhaps of Florida. For Virginia & possibly North Carolina to go to Obama is amazing to me.

In North Carolina I thought Elizabeth Dole would probably win re-election to the Senate. This was not because I support Elizabeth Dole, but because I was somewhat cynical. It's a conservative southern state. Kay Hagan didn't focus as much on what she's accomplished or wanted to do as on Dole's short comings, real or exaggerated. Dole fired back, big time. Kay Hagan apparently accepted a campaign donation from a group called "Godless America" or something. They basically want to take God out of public life - off the money, out of the pledge of allegiance, etc. In the last week of the campaign Dole ran an ad which pretty much called Kay Hagan an atheist (apparently she's not), while at the same time using pagan terminology and images, thus mixing the metaphors so to speak. For example, Godless America didnt just donate money, "they held a secret ceremony in her honor". The images of Hagan in the ad made her look like she was taking part in a witches coven, and you could supply your own stereotypes. At the end there was a picture of Kay Hagan with a woman's voice over saying "There is no God". People were meant to think that was her voice, but it wasn't.

That is about as nasty as I've seen campaigning get. Hagan has filed a defamation of character law-suit, though personally I doubt much will come of it. In the USA public figures are pretty much free game for anything anyone says about them, and both parties are public figures.

Personally, I found the ad insulting. I thought it was the equivalent of a "White People Wake Up" ad straight out of the 1950's. Apparently it didnt sit well with much of the rest of the state either, which surprised the cynic in me. North Carolina is bible-belt country. In the little town of Valdese, I can think of 8 churches without even trying, some of them quite large, and there may be more than that. Religion is important to a lot of people in this state & it is socially conservative.

I think the ad would have been much more effective if it just stated the facts. It's completely legitimate to point out who a campaign accepts money from, and to question a campaign's judgment in accepting money from a certain group, or to try to tie them to that group somehow. But Dole chose to distort things a bit and go over the top, and apparently it didnt work. Or at least it didn't change anybody's mind. So Elizabeth Dole lost, and I find that amazing.

Ok, the county I lived in voted 60% for McCain, 40% for Obama. So the signs on my dog walking route did a pretty good job in predicting the local county vote, at least. I'll have to remember that. 3 out of 5 were McCain signs.

As for me, I'm glad Obama won, and I'm glad Dole lost. And this will probably be the last I have to say about it. I don't really like politics that much.

1 comment:

TrishaRitchieNC said...

This is a very long blog. I think most people felt they didn't have any really good choices. Obama was younger with whiter teeth. That's why I voted for him.