Now that Senator Obama is President-Elect Obama, the pundits and pollsters have all been having a field day with their commentary and analysis of how and why Obama won and McCain lost. But the real winner of the election is every single American who voted. Why? Because of what I observed (as if in microcosm to what must have been occurring all across the nation) as a polling place observer. Let me explain.
Never having done this before, I nonetheless felt it was finally my patriotic duty to volunteer some of my time somehow to this election. I decided to do it from sunrise to sunset on election day on behalf of the Obama campaign. I was assigned to the polling place in the Kenosha Museum on the shores of Lake Michigan in Kenosha, Wisconsin - - - which is in the very southeast part of the state. This voting location was headed by chief inspectors (officials in charge, as they are called in that state) Loraine Fernandes and Will Beckstrom. They led a group of a dozen or so ably trained and proficient individuals. They all were exemplary in their ability to ensure that every person qualified to vote was able to do so. For example, one young person was unable to vote because he did not have the requisite identification required by state statute. Polling personnel instructed him what to do; he came back later in the day with his father, who provided the missing information. Then there was a wheelchair-bound person who was unable to use a wheelchair provided her. Polling personnel took the ballot to her car and allowed her to vote at the curbside.
But what was so very heartening was to see the young, the elderly, the physically impaired, students, those who appeared, well, down-on-their-luck, who all came out to cast their votes. Even the hearing and sight challenged made the effort, with assistance, to step up into the polling booths. I also saw those having to use electric carts, amputees in wheelchairs, those who required devices like portable oxygen machines for assistance, and persons using canes, walkers and crutches - - - all who wanted to exercise their constitutional right here. How inspiring and motivational. And, as well, elderly residents from nearby nursing home facilities came to vote with the assistance of caregivers, as well as mothers with newborns and small children in tow. All this gave further meaning to Obama's campaign mantra, "yes we can". Each and every one of these persons cared enough to place aside any physical or mental challenges, or any inconveniences incurred in daily life, in order to make a difference by voting. There was even a young lad named Billy, who, along with his Mother, baked brownies and offered bottles of water as a bit of nourishment for all those going into the polling place or who had to stand in line before voting. How kind and considerate.
Perhaps even more significant was the thought that all those seeking to cast a ballot, whatever their lot in life, had as much power and authority when doing so, as the likes of a Warren Buffet, a Bill Gates, or even Donald Trump. You know what I mean. How marvelously American.
So, the true winners of this just-completed election were not Barack Obama and Joe Biden, but we, the voters. What a fitting epilogue to such an historic election.