Tuesday, November 04, 2008

live-blogging election day

5:05 p.m. GMT, 12:05 p.m. EST

I'm way too excited to sit still, so I thought I'd channel some of my energy into live blogging the election. It's especially difficult here in England, because we are already coming up on night, and don't yet have too much news, so the fingernails are quite stubby by now, as you can imagine....

As I've mentioned in this blog before, I have voted for Barack Obama. This is the 3rd time in my life that I'm eligible to vote for president, and the 1st time that I have voted for a major party (having voted Green in 2000 and 2004.) It might be interesting to know how it feels to back someone who wins!

5:41 p.m. GMT, 12:41 p.m. EST

My ballot was cast in California, and Daiku's in New York, two states the reliably tend to swing blue. However, we have family in two very hotly contested swing states- Missouri and Virginia. I'll be looking closely at those states- anyone else voting there? I have heard reports of long lines in VA, some places where it took people over 4 hours in line before they could vote. I only had to mail in an absentee ballot. I take off my hat to everyone who has endured any difficulties in physically voting today.

Being in England for the most heated parts of the election has been a blessing and a curse. It's difficult to feel so detached from the process back home, but such a relief to be away from the 24-hour news cycle and some of the more vicious aspects of the election.

6:44 p.m. GMT, 1:44 p.m. EST


2004: I lived in Irvine. I had no t.v. I remember going to the gym on election night to try to see a bit of news. And then, at home, I remember waiting up until all hours of the night, constantly hitting the "reload" button, hoping against all hope the the Ohio tallies would start bearing positive news. Alas, they never did. I wore black to teach the next day.

2000: I lived in New York City. I came home straight away after work, excited to watch the results. My mom and I had just voted for Ralph Nader that morning, and I remember being very encouraged that he would get the 5% of votes needed to ensure federal funding for the Green party. Then the election took a turn for the weird... at around 3 a.m. I realized I wouldn't be finding out results that night. Gore lost. Nader didn't hit 5%. Who knew then that a terrifyingly traumatizing 8 years had just begun?

one way or another, I guess I'm destined to stay up late on election nights!

8:24 p.m. GMT, 3:24 p.m. EST

Even though the presidential race seems to eclipse all the other ones, there are of course many other important races and issues that people are voting about today. One of those, an issue close to my heart, is a ballot initiative in CA that would ban cruel confinement of farm animals. (Proposition 2) This would be such a landmark law, since changes to the agricultural industry in CA, due to its sheer size, could not help but have a ripple effect. Another, which I voted against, is Prop. 8, an initiative that would seek to limit marriage only to those between men and women. What's even sadder is that 3 other states have anti-gay measures on the ballot too. (including Arkansas, which is seeking to make it illegal for gay couples to adopt children). In a world where so many children desperately await adoption, I find that last measure especially crass and mean-spirited. Here's something interesting to ponder. CA legalized interracial marriages before the U.S. supreme court. Talk about "activist judges"! Back then, 96% (NINETY-SIX!!!) of Americans were against people marrying from different races. Today, only about 50% of Americans oppose same-sex marriage. Makes you think, huh?

11 p.m. GMT, 6 p.m. EST

the earliest polls are closing now! let's get this show on the road! now it feels like something really is happening.

11:22 p.m. GMT, 6:22 p.m. EST

we just heard from a relative in Georgia. apparently, someone left a dead cat by her Obama sign. this happened to some of their neighbors too. it's gut-wrenching, and so wrong on so many levels.

12:05 a.m. GMT, 7:05 p.m. EST

Finally, the BBC has started broadcasting election news! The first results were not too surprising, VT for Obama, KY for McCain. Interestingly, MO seems to be a stalwart swing state- no one is calling it one way or another yet! My mother-in-law, in Missouri, said that they've gotten 3 phone calls and a flier, all reminding them to vote, all from the Obama campaign. The organization of his campaign is so reassuring. She also said that a worker at a local polling place was illegally demanding 2 instead of 1 form of ID, but that he was quickly booted from his job. Yay, progress!

12:21 a.m. GMT, 7:21 p.m. EST

Chris Hitchens was just on the BBC, calling the McCain campaign "cheap, nasty, sordid."

12:25 a.m. GMT, 7:25 p.m. EST

The BBC is showing people gathering in Chicago, anticipating a celebration. the sense of excitement is so palpable!
It just occurred to me how privileged Daiku and I are that all of our friends and family are politically in sync. Frankly, I don't know how I'd deal with someone close to me who saw it fit to vote for McCain right now.

12:31 a.m. GMT, 7:31 p.m. EST

North Carolina, Ohio, and W. Virginia just closed. The fact that W.Virginia is not even projecting immediate results is itself telling. Tellingly awesome.

12:40 a.m. GMT, 7:40 p.m. EST

It is so weird to be watching an election without a t.v. and without American news! Apparently, U.S. networks are calling W. Virgina for McCain, but the BBC, in its imminent conservatism, is holding out. Calm and measured. At least we get to hear Rick Gervais talking about Obama here- a definite plus!
Ohio is especially close to my heart. We have friends from there who were election monitors in 2004, and the stories of voter fraud and disenfranchisement that they tell are bone-chilling. Let's right that wrong, OH!

12:57 a.m. GMT, 7:57 p.m. EST

how weird that the
NY Times (top) is saying Obama is leading in SC while the BBC (bottom) is calling SC for McCain?...


1:04 a.m. GMT, 8:04 p.m. EST

PA for Obama!!!!

1:23 a.m. GMT, 8:23 p.m. EST

well, here's something you don't see every day! (I know, I know, it's ephemeral, but let's revel in the novelty, shall we?)

NYTimes Map, projecting an Obama lead (!!) in TX

1:36 a.m. GMT, 8:36 p.m. EST

bazu rides the Tube, London, November 2008

1:52 a.m. GMT, 8:52 p.m. EST

was it just me, or did the BBC anchor just refer to New Hampshire as North Hampshire? Ha- it's late at night, we'll give him a pass.

2:36 a.m. GMT, 9:36 p.m. EST

I don't know how much longer I can stay awake! I'm still biting my nails over VA and MO- so far it doesn't look like Obama will win either. That will be a bummer for many of my family and friends! Ohio for Obama, though! Yessss. Louisiana just went to McCain. Sad and telling. How sad that the Republicans helped wipe New Orleans to the ground, and now the state goes to the GOP, once again.

According to a commentator on the BBC just now "fundamentally, America remains a center-right nation." That is truly sad. Somehow, as good as this looks for Obama, this is not shaping up to be the landslide that many of us had dared hope for. It seems that things are too entrenched for real surprises over any given election cycle. This is sad too. Very bittersweet evening.

2:47 a.m. GMT, 9:47 p.m. EST

I just had a mini-meltdown, brought on by sleep loss. I incorrectly though I saw that CA had passed its ban on gay marriage and I freaked out: "Oh noooo! I can't believe CA banned gay marriage! I can't believe it! Ellen and Portia are null and void! Ellen and Portia had a vegan wedding!!! Noooo!" Fortunately, I was wrong, but hopefully that gave you a glance into my addled brain right now! There is still hope. Come on, CA.

2:52 a.m. GMT, 9:52 p.m. EST

as I live and breathe: I just saw the BBC anchor shut down John Bolton, because he was "chattering away as [they were] trying to talk to people in Florida. Suck it, John Bolton! Seriously, though, Bolton is a huge symbol of the Bush years, someone who took the W administration's bellicosity to the United Nations, to our country's great shame. I'd like to see him, like GW, like the trauma of the last 8 years, disappear. Being smacked down by the BBC is a good start!

2:57 a.m. GMT, 9:57 p.m. EST

Obama just pulled ahead of McCain in VA!!! Go, VIRGINIA!! And he's also ahead in FL! GOBAMA!

3:12 a.m. GMT, 10:12 p.m. EST

Just saw Erica Jong and Eddie Izzard praising Obama on the BBC... the evening is getting surrealer and surrealer! Erica Jong used a very interesting term to refer to Obama "coolth" - talking about the aura of calm that he projects, that we are probably unconsciously all responding to. I understand that no politician, especially a mainstream politician, will be ideal, and we will have opportunities to become disillusioned with Obama in due time, but for now, I'm with much of the world in believing in him, and believing in the opportunity that he covers the U.S. and the world.

3:20 a.m. GMT, 10:20 p.m. EST

John Bolton continues to make an ass of himself, lashing out at the BBC, yelling like a cornered animal. He needs to get off the world stage. Now.

historian Simon Schama (left), trying not to punch John Bolton (right) on the BBC

3:31 a.m. GMT, 10:31 p.m. EST

What does a vegan eat while nervously watching election results? A delicious potato-spinach dip, inspired by a Yellow Rose tester recipe. I just recently finally found nutritional yeast here in the U.K., and I'm taking full advantage of it. There is some champagne* chilling in the fridge. Life is good.

*cheap sparkling wine from Tesco

Other exciting election results I'm watching: Elizabeth Dole is gone! Her dirty campaign apparently did nothing for her. It looks like Al Franken is in the lead for the senate seat in Minnesota! That is amazing. Losses for negative campaigns all around.

3:36 a.m. GMT, 10:36 p.m. EST

Is this a mistake...? This is the map of Utah on CNN right now... pure science fiction!

in what universe does Obama beat McCain in Utah 50%-48%??

3:41 a.m. GMT, 10:41 p.m. EST

This is looking really good in Virginia! Come on, VA, we're rooting for you! 2% lead for Obama, around 50,000 votes.

click on image for a bigger, clearer, picture

3:59 a.m. GMT, 10:59 p.m. EST

Looking down to the closing of the polls on the West Coast, and cinching this thing for Obama. I am, however, saddened that it looks as if anti-gay and anti-abortion measures seem to be passing in several states.

Dennis Kucinich on the BBC, talking about a new economic reality to come with Obama's presidency

4:01 a.m. GMT, 11:01 p.m. EST