Here in Wichita, the lines started forming as soon as the polls opened, so it’s probably going to be a long day for those poor election officials. I’ll just laugh when I drive by on my way to claim my free Starbucks coffee and free Krispy Kreme donut. I laughed at the wife too, when she suggested we stand in line to vote early last week, but now it seems like a stroke of genius. The coffee’s free and so is the day. Tonight will be the first presidential election in 30 years that I don’t have to work through the night at a newspaper. I’m taking it easy. It’s the Super Bowl, and I’m making nachos.
Last night everybody talking about the election on TV seemed giddy, even those who lean Republican. But why not? It’s been two years of endless campaign blather and eight years of specific ineptitude at the top. Everybody needs a break once in awhile. The good news for Republicans is that they’ll have a lot less to be embarrassed about. I get the sense all of us believe everything will be different with Obama in the White House, just as we believed as kids that everything would be different when we got that new bike under the Christmas tree.
Problem is, there’s no new bike — just an envelope containing a bill for the one we got last year, and the year before that. Obama’s first challenge as president, as the nation’s new old man on Christmas morning, will be explaining to the kids that there won’t be any more new bikes for awhile. This will be hard news for certain of the siblings, the tight-lipped idealogues with tears of joy in their eyes and lengthy wish lists in their pockets. But if Obama’s half the president I hope he his, he’ll tell it to them straight.
If he’s not — well, it’s hard to see how he still wouldn’t be twice the president we have now. He’s a messenger of hope arriving with a dump truck full of disappointment, and his great task will be to spread it around in a judicious manner.
But that’s for tomorrow. Today, we congratulate ourselves for having voted, and sip our free Starbucks, and witness the autumn miracle of certain red states turning blue.