Oh joy! Neel and I have always been passively political (and don't worry – especially you, Mark – I won't get all ranty here). We care, we vote, sometimes we give money. We've never been active beyond that. Well beyond yelling at the TV during debates, maybe. This time was different. I won't go into all the reasons why. Politics are as personal as religion, and while I believe in things passionately, I don't necessarily feel those beliefs belong here in this space. Make sense?
What I'll talk about instead is how compelling and gratifying it was to be so much more engaged in the process than we ever have been before. I think voting is both a duty and a privilege, but this time we did more. We showed up at events. We volunteered our time, we were way more "out there" in our beliefs than we ever had been. We wanted Callum to see how important it was to participate in the process. He loved it.
I spent most of the day yesterday at the polls. Saw a lot of neighbors and friends come to cast their vote. Thank goodness it didn't rain! The other guy was there too. Not just his staff, but the candidate himself. I have to admire that, even though I cringed at some of his tactics. (Our guy showed up too, but not until after my shift, of course!)
When we were invited to the Victory Party, we told Callum that if he finished his homework we'd go. My good kid worked hard at school yesterday. When he finished a quiz, he pulled out his social studies to work on. When he finished some make-up work, he grabbed his English to finish up. Two chapters of And Then There Were None when we got home, off to the polls to vote with Neel, and then we headed to the party!
Close to nine, a local delegate and our sheriff got up to speak. The room felt alive with excitement and anticipation as everyone gathered around the speakers. Precinct by precinct the news coming in seemed good. Suddenly we could hear some cheers from a back room, and Senator Northam's campaign manager darted in, giving the local delegate with the microphone a thumbs up, saying, "It's done!"
We all cheered wildly as Senator Northam walked in. It was a great moment, and I was so proud to be part of it. So moved. Before he took the microphone, Senator Northam caught sight of Callum and gave him a special wave (did I mention that he's a pediatrician?). I can't believe I got a photo of that!
His thank yous were particularly moving, I felt, and at the end he said the thing I found to be the most compelling. He said that when he decided to run for re-election, he told his team and the consultants that he would only run a positive campaign. When told it would be risky, he said he didn't care. And he did. His campaign was aboveboard and positive and never once dipped into the mud. With a pretty near landslide win, Senator Northam proves that it can be done. He wants his campaign to be a model for other campaigns, and I for one, hope others from every party take note.
Well done, Senator. I'm proud to have you working for us for the next four years.