reflecting on the election

Nearly everyone is making some sort of post about the election and I felt left out. :) So here are some of my thoughts… they’re random, but that’s not surprising…

In many ways I feel disconnected from reality lately… like I am watching what is going on in the country from a place outside of myself. We are living in history. This year’s election will be read about in history books in years to come, complete with analyses of the following four to eight years. I feel like I should be able to turn on the History channel and find out all what happened after Obama and Biden were elected over McCain and Palin in 2008.

I guess I’ll just have to wait with the rest of the world for that History channel special.

Every generation has their “big moments/events” of history. We had 9/11 in 2001. Now we have the first African American to be elected as President, as well as the second woman to be a Vice President nominee on a major-party ticket. Even given the “big moments” of this election, I think that one of the most amazing things has been the number people that have become excited about politics, how passionate the voters are for their chosen candidate… people care and have hope. I hope that the passion and interest will continue through to future elections and that people might just get more involved between elections, too. That they will pay more attention to what is going on in DC and in their own state governments. (It is something that I would personally like to do…)

I feel like I should be taking notes for an upcoming AP US History exam… but it’s still taking place all around us. The historical significance of it all is just… awesome. I don’t know how else to describe it. And to think how much things have changed in the last 70 years, how much has happened… I just wonder what things are going to be like, what America is going to be like, in another 70ish years from now. I hope I’m still alive to find out!

This wasn’t my first time voting, but it was the first time I felt invested in the election. I did more “research” on the candidates this year than I have in years past. I tried to find unbiased information (not easy to do!) on each of the candidates’ positions on issues I find important. I pretty much knew who I was going to vote for, but I still wanted to research both sides of the ballot. (It’s that whole “seeing things from both sides” part of me…)

I took a few classes on economics in high school and in college, including one that compared the development of “identity, ideology, and politics” that included a look at major economic theorists. (Check out this book if you’re interested. I think I still have it…) Even with all of the classes, I still don’t have a comfortable understanding of economic issues when it comes to politicians. There are other issues that I just don’t understand, that don’t affect me directly, or that aren’t as important to me as some issues.

I found this site, OnTheIssues, that lists quotes, voting records, and other tidbits that reflect every candidate’s position on issues from abortion to welfare and poverty. I don’t know how “unbiased” it is, but it was one of the best and straight to the point sites I could find. It allowed me to look at the issues I wanted to know about, as well as learn a bit more about other issues. Another cool thing about it is that after all of the “issues” for a given candidate, they rate the candidate on how liberal/conservative/libertarian/populist/moderate they are. There’s even a quiz (VoteMatch) that you can take to figure out where you stand on the scale and then it gives you a list of candidates that rate the same/close to you. (Barack: Hardcore Liberal, Biden: Populist-Leaning Liberal, McCain: Populist-Leaning Conservative, Palin: Populist-Leaning Conservative.)

I took the quiz when I first found it and it said that I was “Populist-Leaning Liberal.” (I didn’t know what “populism” really meant, so I looked it up. Wikipedia is awesome.) Granted, I didn’t know much about or have much of an opinion on some of the issues that the quiz addressed. I might take it again just to see if I get the same results…

So Obama won. This is the first time that I can actually say that I truly care about the results. And I am happy that he won. I don’t know where he stands on every issue, and I may not completely agree with his position on every issue. I did my research (and I always wish that I could do more), looking at all four of the candidates’ positions on the issues I find most important and/or know the most about. In the end, I agreed with Obama/Biden more than I did McCain/Palin and I have great hopes for the next four years.

My friend John is a great writer. I think he might actually think about what he is going to write instead of just jotting random notes/paragraphs like I do. Maybe it’s that English degree of his… but I digress. Anywho, he wrote a post about Obama’s victory here. Even if you are a McCain supporter, you should check it out. I admit, I haven’t watched McCain’s or Obama’s speeches yet (no tv) but I am hoping to check them out online asap. I’ve heard great things about both speeches, so I am looking forward to hearing them first hand.

I never thought I would write about politics/politicians…

And because I don’t have any pictures of my own on this, check out some pictures from the Bellingham Herald of the election day march.

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One response to “reflecting on the election

  1. We definitely did witness history that night, and I hope this time we witnessed positive history for once. To often do we witness the negative aspects of history (war, disasters, etc.) and that is what still makes me smile.

    Also, thanks for the kind words about my post! I didn’t know I was a great writer, but that post was the first piece in a long time that I feel good about.

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