We had a party at our house last night, so we could watch the election returns together. Conservative food, liberal drinks, as they say, and a bunch of steadfast Obama supporters. Oh, and one wise guy who said that IF he could vote, he'd vote for Gordon Brown. Yeah, he's a Scotsman in Indiana, and sometimes you just have to roll with that British humor thing, and pour him another drink.
It's hard, living in a red state, when you have a blue vote. It makes one wonder, how does my vote count? But last night, we, and the teenagers amongst us who had voted for the very first time, found out just how important that one vote can be. One of the kids joked about how, when the polling place workers found out that it was his first vote, they shouted "First time voter!" and all applauded him. And so, of course, every time they talked about the first time voters on CNN, or mentioned the youth vote, we too applauded them. Loudly.
And so it was that when some of the adults got bored with the holographic Capitol and the magic wall (sans bouncing Michigan), we found ourself watching Indecision 2008, a wonderful humorfest that was basically nothing but Stephen Colbert, my hero, trying successfully, multiple times, to crack up Jon Stewart. And that is where we were when the announcement was made that Barack Obama was projected to be the winner of the election. Now, imagine this: watching a program where Colbert has had a bird on his shoulder, has screamed his anger into a large plastic bottle, and where Jon Stewart just tried his loyal best to keep from totally losing it. When you're watching something like that, do you really BELIEVE it, when at the end of the show, they announce that your candidate has won?
So, we flipped to CNN and found that yes, it was true. All those months of spreading the word, hoping for the best, standing in line to listen to Obama speak downtown, and getting out the vote worked. My blue vote finally counted. And the most refreshing, and touching, moments came after everyone was gone, and I sat in the living room alone, just taking it all in, and breathing a huge sigh of relief. It was when my oldest, also a first time voter, emailed and told me "wow. I never thought that my one vote would mean anything. It really does, doesn't it?" For him to learn that lesson, this young, is an incredible thing, and hopefully one that he'll never forget.
Though I do believe that there are may be some teenagers whose most vivid memory, before the champagne flowed, is that on this night, in this room, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart reported history. Which means, of course, that as we all suspected, in America, ANYTHING is possible.