An Historic Election Event at MoonDogs Too

I spent Tuesday night in downtown Port Orchard shuffling between Amy’s on the Bay and MoonDogs Too.
At the former, 26th Legislative District candidate Jan Angel celebrated her 62nd birthday and a slim lead over her Democratic opponent, Kim Abel. Abel, meanwhile, was partying at MoonDogs with supporters and State Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, who would end the evening with a comfortable lead in the race to retain his seat.
I did not plan it this way, scout’s honor, but I happened to be in the Democratic camp when presidential candidate Barack Obama shattered the 270 electoral vote barrier to become this nation’s first African-American president elect. The time was 8:01 p.m.; Obama had 284 electoral votes. Within 15 minutes, by my estimation, the stations were broadcasting news that Republican contender John McCain had graciously conceded the fight.
When news of Obama’s victory broke, cheers and whoops erupted from the crowd in the upstairs room at MoonDogs.
Say what you will about Obama, the fact that Americans elected, by an overwhelming margin, an African American president is an historic event.
The fact wasn’t lost on people like me, 53, who are old enough to remember an all-too-recent time when race was either a stumbling block or a privilege.
Beyond that, Obama’s supporters seem to respond to his charisma (whether that’s enough to run a country in dire economic straits is yet to be seen).
I looked around at the crowd and saw 67-year-old Kay Travatte, watching the screen, hands to her face, tears streaming down her cheeks.
“This means a lot to you?” I asked.
“It’s been a long time,” she said referring to both Obama’s campaign and the last time she was so moved by a political leader.
Travatte, a Gig Harbor resident, was too young to vote for John F. Kennedy, but she worked on his campaign. She held a job with the F.B.I. the year he was assassinated and it took the wind out of her political sails … until now.
“From the first time I saw him talk, he made me want to come forward and do something for this country,” said Travatte of President-elect Obama.
Another woman, old enough to speak with authority, Marcia Loraditch, 62, of Port Orchard, summed it up this way, “We just stepped into history,” she said.

15 thoughts on “An Historic Election Event at MoonDogs Too

  1. You wrote, “Say what you will about Obama, the fact that Americans elected, by an overwhelming margin, an African American president is an historic event.”

    While I agree that the election of African-American as President is an historic event, I strongly disagree with your description of an “overwhelming margin.”

    Winning by a ten point spread (55 to 45) is a landslide. Obama is not there. Nor is winning by five million votes among 120 plus million cast an overwheling margin.

    Likewise, with a few exceptions, the geopolitical map remains pretty much the same: GOP strongholds in the south and mid-west; Democrat strongholds on the east and west coasts. Urban Democrats versus Rural Republicans.

    We will respectfully agree to disagree.

    I commend both McCain and Obama for great speeches this evening.

    By the way…Before you discount my opinion, keep in mind that I financially contributed to Obama earlier this year.

  2. Is this what history is really supposed to be about? I’m sorry, I do not share the feeling that this is a great historical moment. In a country that is supposed to look beyond color it is color that has made this event “historical” in the media and in many of the populace’s minds. Color does not make a good president and to hold this up at the tantamount to this election, is showing the direction this country is going. If this election had been colorblind the outcome surely would have been different.

  3. Now here’s an ACCURATE headline of what transpired:

    Popular vote close, but McCain loses key states
    STEVEN THOMMA; McClatchy Newspapers
    Published: November 5th, 2008 12:30 AM | Updated: November 5th, 2008

  4. It was a historic moment for many reasons, an African American being chosen was just one. An important sign that we have reached Dr. King’s dream, but just one element of the victory we celebrated at Moondogs Too last night.

    The fact that someone could energize people to the degree that Obama did is what is amazing. The fact that our youth would come out in droves and that people would come in walkers, struggling to reach the polls, voting for the first time in their lives says a lot about our hope for the future.

    My 20 year old son was in D.C. He was jubilant beyond belief. He called me and I couldn’t hear him. People were screaming so loudly at our watch party and even more loudly at his. He is in downtown D.C. blocks from the White House. He said that people just poured out of dorms, offices, businesses and homes and just walked in mass to the White House. We could see them on T.V., tens of thousands of people. He said that it was completely unplanned, totally spontaneous.

    This excitment is what is historic. This ability to energize people. We all know that we will be the ones doing the hard work in the next few years to rebuild businesses, our image abroad, our economy and repairing our environment. Now, we have a man who can lead us to do the hard work we need to do.

    If some feel embittered, I am sorry for you, very sorry that you can’t share this jubilation.

    However, you feel just a fraction of the pain and anguish people have felt for the past eight years under Bush and the past 30 under Reagan’s economic policies. People have been hurting. This election spoke to people’s desire to get past that pain and promise to work together on solutions.

    That’s what I saw last night, that and more.

  5. Congratulations to President-Elect Obama and to the United States of America. Despite the fact that we will disagree on many issues in the coming years, it humbling and inspiring to witness such an historic indicator that real progress is being made towards achieving a day when racism becomes an obsolete word.

    President-Elect Obama did not win this election because of the color of his skin. He won this election because he articulated a message that resonated with more Americans than any of his opponents. That message, in my observation, is that anything is possible if one sets their mind and action to it.

    For those, like myself, who did not vote for Barack Obama, we have the responsibility of citizenship to respect the vote just as those who were elected last night also have the responsibility of elected leadership to respect the fact that they have been elected to serve all citizens, not just those who voted for them or contributed to their campaigns.

    I will give Barack Obama a chance. At the same time, I will stand up and exercise my rights and responsibilities as a citizen, including the responsibility to disagree and take an opposing position, as my conscience dictates. The President-Elect has spoken about “hope”. My hope in this great nation rests in his being honorable in fulfilling the oath of office…

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  6. Thank you, Kathryn, that’s the spirit our country needs. However, you need not worry about Obama being honorable.

    There is much work to be done and I am glad that at least one Republican will not be obstructionist just because McCain lost. It’s all about our country and our world now.

  7. There were as many reasons for votes as the people who cast them. For some, race was certainly a primary factor. It is what it is, whether or not we agree with it.

    But he’s here now, elected into Office. And while few who understand government will presume one man truly leads a democratic nation (or republic), the focus must now be on next steps and policies which serve all citizens, not just those who supported the winning candidate.

  8. Builder –

    On the popular vote, current numbers from CNN show Obama with 53 percent of nearly 120 million votes counted; McCain with 47 percent. That seems pretty significant to me given at least the results of the last three elections:

    2004
    Bush 51 percent (Kerry, 49 percent)

    2000
    Bush* 48 percent (Gore, 49 percent; Nader, 3 percent)

    1996
    Clinton 50 percent (Dole, 41 percent, Perot, 9 percent)

    Source: Info Please

    The overwhelming margin I was referring to was the electoral vote, latest numbers I’ve seen: 349 to 163. One could question a system in which the runner up (McCain) earns 56,280,666 out of 119,966,242 votes, and still gets bested 3:1 in electoral votes. McCain deserves all due credit and respect.

    Speaking of which, we can respectfully agree to disagree on the definition of “overwhelming majority.” I would not presume to discount your opinion, however.

    I am curious what motivated you to make a contribution early in Obama’s campaign. What, if anything, changed for you as the campaign progressed?

    Chris

  9. Until the two parties learn how to govern on behalf not only of the majority that elects them, but also with respect for the sizable minority that did not, we will remain divided and often angry.

    The Democrats pulled a majority this year for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the recent abandonment by the Republicans of fiscal conservatism (If the Republicans spend like Democrats, why not vote for the real thing?). It would be a mistake to read from the election results that everyone or even necessarily a majority rejects everything advocated or accomplished by the Republican majorities of the past decade. To do so will only set up the next backlash in the other direction.

    The party that learns to represent the center without vilifying those in the wings will be in power for years to come. But that would be a sea change for either of our current parties, so good luck with that.

  10. Chris, maybe “Builder” was one of the folks who had to see for themselves that Obama’s online campaign donation process was set up to allow donations under fake names and addresses. We may never know just how often the so-called campaign finance reform rules were broken, but we could see that Obama was ignoring them.

  11. “…campaign finance reform rules were broken, but we could see that Obama was ignoring them….”

    And so it goes.

    Not that it matters but anyone who thinks color didn’t play a part in this election is plain silly.
    Colin Powell stepped up to the plate and voted his color and history.

    OJ Simpson was declared Not Guilty by a mostly black jury…most ‘white folks’ thought he was guilty.

    But Black and White History in America is solidly speckled with horrendous crimes against Blacks until very few, if any blacks will vote against their color…as I see it.

    Crimes against the Native American is still raw for many of the descendants and – I think- all else being equal or nearly equal, they too would vote on color.

    Obama is a shining beacon for most of this country – of all colors and races.

    I didn’t vote for him, but I’ll support his Presidency and hope for the best because this is my country too.

    Her citizens include all of us of different color, race, gender as we work together as sisters and brothers united.
    That is my hope.
    Sharon O’Hara

  12. I’m glad you had such a good and interesting time in downtown Port Orchard on election night. I wish more people would do the same (not just on an election night, but every night). After reading the comments posted so far, I’d glad to see those that are thoughtful and obviously posted by people who care for this country a greal deal. (Not always the case with postings, of course.) I just want to put in my two cents worth. I watched Barack Omaba’s election as President with tears in my eyes … tears of relief that the pain this country has been in for eight years might finally have an answer, and tears of hope that a deep racial divide in this country has been breached in the most visible way imaginable. Having said that, the America I live in is in serious, serious trouble. I don’t think I have to go into details in that regard. I hope and pray that all of us will rally around our society, country and President, and, for everything that is holy and true, stop this god-awful partisanship and ugly hatred that’s been tearing us apart.

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