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Sadly, Election Day probably won’t be the end

I’m relieved that Election Day is less than 24 hours away, finally. This campaign season has been interminable and I’ve been ready for weeks for it to be over. It’s looking very good for Obama and I’m very excited about that. But I’m also extremely anxious that something could happen, something could go wrong; votes could be lost or stolen or miscounted, lawyers could file suit, courts could get involved. I want a huge, nationwide celebration of hope and unity and a new future, yet I’m fearful of an ugly, contentious aftermath that could show us the very worst that America can be.

Even within my family, things got more and more uncomfortable as the campaign ground on. My son and his wife were early supporters of Fred Thompson, which made for lots of interesting chats about good ol’ Fred. And then they went bonkers over Palin. As the months wore on, my daughter-in-law seemed to lean even more to the right. I decided early on that I just wouldn’t discuss politics around her. She’s very outspoken and I don’t defend myself very well against face-to-face verbal onslaughts.

My son and I, on the other hand, have had a lot of political discussions. We can stay open-minded and friendly, sparring a little bit but knowing when to back off. For a long time I hoped he would do his homework and conclude that he should vote for Obama, but I suspect I’ve failed in this mission. The DIL has his ear much more than I, which is as it should be (as much as I hate to admit it).

She’s turned activist in the last two weeks. After all the digs I’ve gotten from her for having Obama stickers on my car (the first stickers ever to be put on my 15-year-old car), she finally got some McCain yard signs. The first night she put one up, it was stolen. I can appreciate her anger; I think the stealing or defacing of campaign signs is theft, vandalism, and trespassing, pure and simple. So she got more signs, put two in the yard, and set up a video cam to catch anyone who tried to take them. She signed up to work a McCain phone bank, volunteered to drive some teens around to distribute campaign literature, and is going to be a poll watcher (not poll worker). That’s someone who stands around watching for any possible problems, mistakes, illegal campaigning, or other violations at the polling place, and who will report them to her party; all parties are entitled to have watchers. I can see this being a good idea, maybe, but it also sounds like a very contentious, adversarial thing to do. Given the responsibility of spotting the other guy’s mistakes or wrongdoing, you’re going to find something. Right? It’s human nature. We all love to find fault with the other guy.

I worry that so much activism and emotion will not fade after tomorrow, and that the current rather prickly environment at my son’s house will continue. If Obama wins, I don’t want to have to spend the next four years defending him every time I’m at my son’s house.

I just want this thing over tomorrow. Decisively, finally, lopsidedly, incontestably over!

Yeah, yeah, I know it won’t be. The losing side won’t let it be. The media won’t let it be. But I can dream, can’t I?

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