Thursday, December 4, 2008

Election Perspective

It has been a while since the big day, but I had a post election moment too profound to skip over.
The day after the election we had some snow. I was rushing to get the boys to school, backing slowly out of my driveway when I felt the van bump against something. The bump didn't alarm me as much as the shattering glass noise that came with it. I whipped my head around faster than a group of 13 year olds who just saw Zac Efron.

The bump? Our empty trashcan that had been neglected the night of trash day. The shattering sound? My rear window. So here I am - in my gym clothes - kids to get to school, snow falling and getting heavier. What's a girl to do? Drive her kids to school of course. As I'm driving more and more of the window is falling down into the back of the van, each bump in the road followed by the pleasant tinkling sound of cascading glass. It entertained those boys all the way to school! I didn't even go home - just kept driving to Salt Lake to an auto glass shop that Geoffrey had visited for work the previous month.

The shop is next to a salvage yard. I'm in this one room office/waiting area in a hard plastic chair feeling the winter air every time the door is opened, listening to the phone ringing off the hook and the price quote given to all these callers, the workers coming in and out with questions, and the pleasant sound of power tools. As I'm sitting (in my gym clothes!) waiting for our window to be replaced, the owner and his workers are discussing the previous day's events. One worker turns to me and says "Did you vote? Wasn't it great? You have a black man for your president. What a great country!"

He proceeds to tell me that in his country, he had no opportunity to vote for who he wanted. Then he tells me how in the winter his family would flee to the mountains and live in caves to escape the government who was trying to kill them because of their ethnic background. How they used to say the mountains were their only friends. Now they say their only friends are the mountains and America. How great he thinks America is because America helped his country.

He is from Iraq - a Kurd. And he could have cared less if Obama or McCain won our election. He was so excited to talk about it - like a little kid talking about Disneyland! He thought the process, the fact we could vote - that either man could have won was awesome. That a person who belongs to a minority in our country was elected. And he's right. I may not have been thrilled about the election results, but I should be grateful for the opportunity to participate!

On the other election front ...

Nixon rocked his speech. He went the Dwight route - carefully listened to Dwight's speech over and over and changed it to be about 6th graders.

6th Graders of Ecker Hill Unite!
We are Students!
We must never cede control of our education!

He wrote on his little speech each time he would bang on the podium (Bang 2 times). I was soooo nervous - you've got to sell something like that, not just stand up and read off of a piece of paper. My nerves were wasted. He was hilarious. I doubt many kids got the Dwight Schrute references, but they did know they loved Nixon. They laughed and cheered and I knew before we left he would win. Two girls walking out in front of us were talking about who they voted for. "Of course I voted for Nixon. EVERYONE voted for Nixon."

We left for Arizona right after the speech. They were not announcing the winners until the next day, so I asked a nice lady from the school to call us while we were gone and let us know if he had won or not. Then we had the front desk from the hotel call our room and deliver the good news. I caught the moment with my trusty Canon:

Now someone has to be early to school every Wednesday for Student Council Meetings. Congratulations Mom!


Mama F said...

Those picutres of Nixon are pretty cool. Good job being prepared. After the election when Obama was speaking I imagined this wave of hope washing over the country taking away the prejudices and anger. I can only pray it really happens.

Heidi Green said...

I always wondered what happened with Nixon's election. Congrats.

Also, I need your new address to send a Christmas card. Will you e-mail it to me?

Robyn said...

Sorry it's taken me so long to read this. That is a really cool story about the guy at the glass shop. Sorry about your window. I hope you're doing well! Can you come visit while your kids are on Winter Break? Congrats to Nixon too for winning student council! Great speech! Love that episode! Miss you! Hope you got our card!