Following isopod’s clever suggestion, this photo is a reboot of my post from election night in 2008. I had fewer than ten followers back then, so I’m not worried about boring y’all with the repetition. I cried with happiness that night four years ago. I cried a little last night too.
As I understand it, as an Old White Southern Male I am supposed to be feeling marginalized these days, overwhelmed by shifting racial and ethnic demographics, and alarmed and embittered that my waning political voice is depriving me of privilege and power. I actually feel quite buoyant. I met a lot of OWSMs at President Obama’s campaign office in Portsmouth last week: making get-out-the-vote calls, arranging rides to the polls for those who needed them, making sure people understood Virginia’s voter ID requirements.
I’m very pleased that in my little town seventy percent of the vote went to President Obama. All of those calls surely helped. Unofficially, the President won in Virginia by only about 100,000 votes - about the capacity of the NASCAR stadium in Richmond, and coincidentally, about the population of Portsmouth. For such a little place I think we had an impressive role in Virginia going blue for the second time. And I like to think that this change signifies a deeper shift - that Virginia is finally recognizing its proper place as a mid-Atlantic state, breaking away at last from its obstinate affiliations with the Old South. As hard as it might be for the nostalgic Southern Heritage folks to acknowledge, Virginia has a lot more in common with New Jersey than with South Carolina. Maybe we’re beginning to figure it out.
These are not changes I ever expected in my lifetime. The Old Dominion can be frustratingly reactionary. Now if Virginia can help send a Hillaryesque woman to the White House (Hillary herself will do quite nicely, thank you), this OWSM can die in peace, knowing that the Commonwealth he loves has changed for good.