I like the two Americans

Declan’s a fan of Barack Obama. But he also asks about John McCain, aware that he’s the other face we see the most on television these days. I’ve tried to explain what the president of the USA does, that some people like one man and some the other, and how elections work.

He came back at me with “I like Barack Obama. I like John McCain. I like the two Americans.”

You know, if I could only bottle that and put it in the water supply.

I think what that tells me is that I’ve been acting more measured about this election than I feel. In 2004, I liked Kerry, but my negative feelings about Bush were overwhelming. We have our reasons for voting Obama here, but disdain for John McCain isn’t chief among them. In fact, I know I dislike the policies and the ugliness of the campaign strategies, while there is still plenty I admire about the man.

I really hope that if Obama wins today, one of the big lessons is that character assassination campaigns are not only uninspired, their results are limited. (The anti-Obama Reverend Wright commercials just made me ill last night. Seeing them in contrast with news coverage about Obama’s grandmother’s death just highlighted their tackiness.)

I’ve explained to my son that he’s not allowed to vote until he’s 18 several times in the past week. This morning, knowing that his daddy still had to vote today, he told me: “I’m 18.” (His dad worked for ACORN when he was a young man, but we didn’t try to register our three-year-old, I swear.) Declan got dressed enthusiastically and they went to the polls. He’s not angry or scared or even apprehensive about the results – he’s just purely and beautifully excited to participate in this world, in our country, in democracy. He wants to vote for his preferred candidate of the two Americans.

I just got a call that their voting trip was successful, that the wait wasn’t too bad, and that Declan got to press the button for Barack Obama and cast his daddy’s vote.

Here’s a song for my voting Irishmen: O’Bama.

Good luck to those of you voting today.

If you have any problems at the polls, call one of these hotlines:

1-866-MYVOTE1 (866-698-6831)
1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en EspaƱol)

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