Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I should go back.

How we got to Washington wasn't earth shattering. The day after the election we bought the tickets through Travelocity without much forethought. There were a couple of times during the campaign when one of us uttered, "Wouldn't it be great if..." or "Can you imagine being..." and the sentence would be spoken under a whisper and the hearer wouldn't dare answer in fear of jinxing the moment or the work we had ahead of us. That's how we roll around the Spencerhouse. Superstitions abound - especially during elections. Especially during this election. Things were going so well, too well, but because we'd been inside, and were surrounded by other geeked up politicos, it was hard to tell what was really happening out there in the "real" America. I think a lot of us thought that there was still lots of room for us to lose this, for any number of reasons. Looking back it seems silly since Barack won with such a large margin, but at the time, our reservations were real.

Joe and I wanted to be more involved in the campaign. As Barack won more and more primaries and caucuses, it became clear that this was our moment to cling onto some coattails and hold on for dear life. But, at the time things got heated in MN, our youngest was 5 months old and our oldest 3 going on ridiculous. How much time could we really dedicate? Our payoff came when Joe was asked to run a phone bank out of Obama Headquarters for the last 4 days of the campaign - Saturday through election day. He agreed with a stipulation that we would do it together and that we could bring our kids. Yes, and yes. I'm not sure how many people were annoyed by the young ins on the floor while they dialed for democrats, but no one complained to us. Emerson took real ownership in the whole thing by realizing the best way he could help out was by doing visibility. He was obsessed; the honking, the waving, he was hooked. Harriet just smiled at the callers a lot, and, hopefully, added some levity.

Halfway though election day, I dropped the kids off with my parents for the night. We'd been through enough election days to know that things got heavy in the final hours. We wanted to be fully present for the task at hand and not worry who needed to eat next or how to deflect the next melt down, and, from what we know, election nights go late - very late, and we didn't want to bow out early. I said to many at the time, "I just want to be in the room." We'd been in the room for the losses of 2000, 2002, 2004. I was home with a sick Emerson for Amy Klobuchar's Senate win in 2006, but Joe was there. I know what it's like to be in that room when we lose. The silence is deafening. Awkwardness abounds and no one knows what to say. After I dropped the kids off, and was listening to MPR, I felt my heart open just a crack, to let in the thought that we just might win this thing, and I needed to be in that room.

So I bought the plane tickets without much thought. They were cheap, plentiful, the event was a good 2 1/2 months away, we have friends who live in D.C., we'd figure out the details later.

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