Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An emotional morning

We are at a Wal-Mart in Alexandria, Louisiana (map).

Our stopping options last night included here in Alexandria, or driving another couple hours all the way to the Mississippi. While Alexandria is not one of our more scenic stops, we're trying to take a much more leisurely pace, and, besides, we wanted to be off the road in time to catch the start of election coverage.

We did pass a nice new SuperCenter on the way in to town, right across from the Rapides Coliseum, but, as long as we were in the city, we wanted the option to walk to dinner, and there was nothing nearby. So we drove another few miles to this store, which is right across the street from the Alexandria Mall, and we had a nice dinner at Sake Sushi. On our way here we passed a polling place, and were most gratified to see that, not only was the parking lot completely full, but cars were lined up out onto the road -- never in my life have I witnessed this kind of turnout for any election.

We also wandered through the mall, and were somewhat surprised that a number of stores are still closed, including J.C. Penney, and many are in various stages of reconstruction after hurricane Gustav ripped into the mall in September, tearing sections of the roof off and flooding large areas. Alexandria is a good ways inland, and it is sobering to see this kind of storm damage this far from the coast.

Once we were settled in, we started watching and reading the election coverage. The presidential race was, of course exciting, but in an unexpected way. The '00 race had us on the edges of our seats because of how close it was; this race had us marveling at largely red states turning blue before our eyes. And, naturally, we were swept up in the history-making momentousness of it all. While we had been worried about having to stay up late into the night to see the outcome, even the very conservative New York Times was calling it for Obama by 10pm (CT).

Instead, I found myself struggling to stay awake for at least some indication of where California's Proposition 8 was headed. It was nearly midnight here before any meaningful returns started showing up, and then I was sorry I waited. By the time I turned in, the measure was heading for victory (and someone please tell me why something so significant as altering the constitution requires only a simple majority), and I went to bed drained.

This morning finds the measure still leading, but, apparently, the race is close enough that even CNN has not called it. With a 52-48 margin, though, it's hard to see it being defeated. And, while we no longer live in California ourselves, this amendment will directly impact many of our dearest friends -- our hearts and thoughts are with them right now, and we continue to hold out hope that, when all the votes are tallied, the amendment will be defeated.

So it has been an emotional morning aboard Odyssey. It has been particularly so to read the reports coming in from around the world about the presidential race -- the world has very high hopes, it would seem, and never before has the outcome of our election been watched and cheered by so many others. America is, indeed, a great country.


  1. While I likely don't share many of your political views, I am happy to see others taking an interest in the process. As large as the turnout was for this election day was, I still think it is sad that a HUGE number of Americans didn't bother to go out and vote. Regardless of which side you are on, parcipitation is important.

  2. Just surfing the web and came across your blog because you mentioned our meeting last winter. (This is Mike of Mike and Cissie from Mojave). Anyway fun catching up with your, and you should make it a point to come to North Dakota and sail with us. The lake is up and next summer will be great. Bush has temporarily forced me back to work, but we will take off in about a month. Hope to see you on the road. Thanks again for letting us use your connection. Mike

  3. if you take a leasurly drive to Natchez. There is a wall mart on the left about a mile before you cross the mississippie river.

    unvle ned

  4. I too am devastated by Prop 8. Absolutely senseless. Almost makes me want to try and register in CA again. But getting the ballot to Mexico is incredibly difficult (still waiting for my Nov 4th ballot :( )


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