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Me?  I'll be eating a four-year-old fortune cookie with a glass of champagne.

Just a little more than four years ago, I flew from New York to Florida to train and serve as a Democratic party pollwatcher on Election Day.  It seems like yesterday.  I remember the sleepless night and the anxiety, the smugness of my Republican counterparts.  As I stood in the airport security line to come home, I heard whomever was behind me in line talking animatedly with a companion, laughing...LAUGHING!  I recall wondering how anyone could laugh on that day, when it felt to me like someone close or something important had died an unjust death, and I realized, sadly, that we, as a nation, had "chosen" Orwellian rule over reason.  Laughter that day seemed to me as strange and unexpected as it might have in New York City on the sunny afternoon of September 11, 2001, or on the many days after it, when even the music didn't play.  I experienced each, to quote Don McClean, as "the day the music died..."

When I arrived home, I unpacked my suitcase to discover something I was surprised had survived the flight -- a perfectly intact fortune cookie in it's cellophane wrapper.  The cookies had been distributed by the Kerry campaign, each containing a "fortune" related to the campaign and the soon-to-be-lost promises of a Democratic presidency.  I still have that fortune cookie.  It's push-pinned to the bulletin board here in my office, next to a postcard from Istanbul and a photo I took of the Twin Towers in 1995, back before I grew to love them only through their absence.

Today, for the first time in the four years that I have had this cookie, I noticed that I could actually make out a few words at one end of the enfolded paper.  They are "Health insurance...increased by..."  To mis-quote a well-known adage, "The less things change, the more they stay the same."

When I visualize an Obama Inaguration, I tear up with anticipatory joy.  And then I remember the shock I experienced on November 5, 2004, all the more acute because I'd allowed myself to believe that Kerry would win, that he had to win because it was the only possible "rational" outcome.  I'm just four years older, but forty years wiser.  I can no longer indulge in such fantasies.  Now, when I catch myself imagining an Obama inaugural, I close my eyes and try to imagine a McCain victory, painful as that is.  This is not, as you might expect, to ward off complacency, though we must do that as well.  Rather, it is a silly attempt to protect myself from the possibility of reliving the bitter shock and disbelief of 2004.  

But here's a confession.  Today, I allowed myself to believe that Obama might really win this thing and that I will experience an elation too-long-delayed...and then some.  I decided that, if "we" win, I will open that fortune cookie, a ritual, of sorts, to mark the end of an eight-year wait for the return of reason, the beginning of an American renaissance.  If "we" lose, the cookie will remain where it is on the bulletin board, next to the postcard and the photo.  

So...here's hoping for a taste of a very stale fortune cookie on November 5, 2008 to accompany my glass of champagne.  Right now, though, I'm going to imagine a McCain victory, make another contribution, and confirm my Sunday training on Pennsylvania Election Law.  

Originally posted to FairWinds on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:27 AM PDT.

Poll

How will you celebrate an Obama victory?

8%5 votes
0%0 votes
13%8 votes
1%1 votes
10%6 votes
16%10 votes
49%29 votes

| 59 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I will be so hungover on the fifth (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bread and roses, serrano, lgmcp, zhimbo, kktlaw

    Whether it's a good hangover or a bad one remains to be seen, but so far I believe it'll be a good one. I took the day off, just to be sure.

    We're all Georgians, and we're all fundamentals, but we're not all Americans?

    by BoiseBlue on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:33:16 AM PDT

  •  Wait, are we missing a key paragraph? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zhimbo, BoiseBlue, kktlaw, FairWinds

    When comes this cookie, exactly, and how did you decide to save it?  

    I remember that sad day.  I was supposed to be setting life goals in a damn management seminar, and all I could do was weep.  The other trainees avoided me uneasily after I told them that my distress was because history would judge our country harshly for this day.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:33:23 AM PDT

  •  I'm going to Vegas! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kktlaw

    for 4 days to work for Obama and than whoop it up on the strip.  Come party with me!

  •  At about Midnight on the 4th/5th (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, TomFromNJ, kktlaw

    I will reluctantly leave the victory party in NH to drive the 2-3 hours home.  (I'll make sure I'm sober, thank you).

    I will snuggle with my wife, thankful that I will not be spending as many evening and weekend days away from her.

    I will take the 5th off from work and read everything I can about exactly how big the victory was, including down-ticket races.

    I will contemplate taking time off from work to go down to DC for the innauguration.

    Numbers are like people . . . Torture them enough and they'll tell you anything.

    by Actuary4Change on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:36:46 AM PDT

  •  my family and friends are having dinner (4+ / 0-)

    Our Election Feast will feature all the foods on that despicable "Obama Buck," plus sweet potato pie.

    Delicious democracy!

  •  I'm going to open my front door and (6+ / 0-)

    scream a victory scream (much as I did one cold, February night in 2005 to celebrate a Steeler Superbowl victory) and then watch Obama's victory speech, and then start packing for the inauguration.  My two kids and I will be there, ready to record and enjoy history!

    "The man and the hour have met!" Ladies and gentlemen, the next President of the United States, Barack Obama!

    by PittsburghPete on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:40:28 AM PDT

  •  I'm not going to let myself count my chickens (6+ / 0-)

    before Orrin Hatch.

  •  I'm no wet blanket -- (5+ / 0-)

    I'll celebrate my butt off on the 5th.

    For now, though, I'll celebrate by participating in the greatest ground game campaign of American  political history.

    Also -- I won't be happy if prop 8 wins here in California.  The election of a lifetime, and I won't be happy.  Help me.

  •  I'm holding out... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dark UltraValia, kktlaw

    ... until the 3rd or 4th State of the Union address.  That way I know all of the votes have been counted and there are no more schemes being launched by the wingnuts.

    You and me will all go down in history, With a sad Statue of Liberty, And a generation that didn't agree - SoaD

    by nsdq on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:45:30 AM PDT

  •  I'm going to watch Maverick concede... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dark UltraValia, kktlaw

    ... too poor an excuse for a man to even show up in person to thank his loyal supporters for their efforts. I'll shout at the TV: "EAT IT, you hateful warmongering piece of shit!" Then I'll get in bed next to my wife and fall asleep with a smile on my face.

    I have work the next day.

  •  Pizza & a box of kleenex! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dark UltraValia, kktlaw

    I am excited to eat my carbs and cry my eyeballs out...it will be a super duper night...the only thing better will be the swearing in and then the first State of the Union address by this INCREDIBLE human being.  Peace out!  :)

  •  A neighbor just asked me about my party (3+ / 0-)

    Apparently another neighbor has been telling everyone I will be hosting a party at her house on election night.  Sounds like I'm expecting 20 - 25 people, some of which I know.

    Not really what I had planned, I wanted to be obsessively watching polls and reading Kos.  She's right next door, so I guess I'll just haul my laptop over there.  Or not.  Really weird situation.

  •  I'll be at my local Democratic Headquarters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomFromNJ, kktlaw

    watching the returns with my other fellow dems & g/f. We plan to play Martha & the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street" really loud when we hear the magic number passed.

    On Nov. 4th Don't Forget to Bring Your Photo I.D. to the Polls!!!!!

    by soulsurfer99 on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 10:05:38 AM PDT

  •  Forgive the seriousness (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FairWinds

    because I loved the diary.

    I too am trying not to think too hard about how to celebrate because of the jinx effect.

    Realistically, if and when Obama is declared the winner, I will be among those who cry. It feels like I've been holding my breath for this moment since about 2002.

    Tears of happiness and relief, sure. Also tears for all that we have lost in the past 8 years on misgovernment. The lives, freedoms, jobs and more that were sacrificed. The many people that, whatever we do to correct things now, can never truly be made whole.

    As after any great relief, I know to prepare for the inevitable emotional reaction: probably a few days of depression and strange emptiness. It's over, and now what? Possibly a migraine. Then that will pass.

    Finally, my pledge is to try to stay involved in making things right, to the extent we can, to ensure that we restore our principles and guard them for future generations. That we never forget or return to power the same malefactors who gave us -- among other things in the last 8 years -- two stolen elections, a deeply divided people, a tattered Constitution, a busted economy and a profoundly immoral war.

  •  Planning a "Reboot America" party for Saturday (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kktlaw

    we are inviting everyone we know and I am serving the happiest of comfort food, hot cheese dip, Italian potroast with mashed potatoes, crab cakes, pigs in blankets, etc....and I am a GREAT cook!!

    NYC, anyone here want to come too?

  •  Thinking of taking a personal day on the 5th (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kktlaw

    so I can sleep in and just bask in the goodness.

    I don't really want to face all the wingnuts at my office. they will harsh my mellow because I will have to be humble and kind.

  •  Well, on a lighter note, I am having just a ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soulsurfer99

    few good friends over. I'm in traction with a broken leg, so I can't go too far, and go out and run in the street as I'd like to. But my friends will do that and raise a ruckus on my very "McCain sign" street. I am printing out blank U.S. maps and providing my guests with red pens and blue pens to fill in states as they are won. This is a tactile and fun way to really "feel" it happening. And people are bringing food and hard liquor, which I haven't had in months, so I probably will be really hung over, but hopefully happy, on the 5th.

    •  Aw, gee... (0+ / 0-)

      bad enough to have a broken leg, but to have one when you'd surely be wanting to dance the dancin'est dance of all political time.  Love your map-and-pen idea!  Hope you heal well and soon.  

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