US Vote: Barry Graham’s Election Day Diary
Writing exclusively for Bella Caledonia another Scots author in exile Barry Graham gives a running commentary from Portland, Oregon, as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney slug it out in a closely run contest to be come the 45th President of the US.
9.50pm (Pacific Time) Turns out Obama got the popular vote as well.
9.15 Talking heads say single women are strongly against Romney, and that reproductive rights matter to them. In other news, black people tend not to support the Klan.
9.11 Andrew Sullivan says Obama won because moderate Republicans voted for him, a moderate Republican. I disagree. He’s well to the right of Reagan and Bush Senior, and to the right of Bush Junior.
8.59 Pot legalization passed in Washington, but not in Oregon, much to the consternation of people in this room. “We Oregonians are bigger pot-heads than Washingtonians,” says my friend. Then she adds, “It won’t make any difference. We’ll smoke pot anyway.” (Does this mean the editor of Bella Caledonia will now move to Washington? – No, Ed)
8:48 Congratulations to George W. Bush on being elected for a fourth term.
8.45 People here gleeful that it looks like the legalization of pot in Oregon is going to pass. They don’t realize that Obama will never let it go ahead, no matter what the state decides.
8.39 Talking head says Obama got fewer votes this time than four years ago. If anybody needs to have the reason why explained to them, let me know.
8.37 It’s like watching people applaud Fu Manchu for getting the job instead of Dr. Frankenstein.
8.35 Obama Tweets, “We’re all in this together.” Speak for yourself, you degenerate. Some of us don’t murder people. Some of us support due process. Some of us oppose corporate welfare. Some of us oppose torture.
8.30 Here are the real winners tonight:
- Drone strikes against civilians have won.
- Indefinite detention without charges or access to counsel has won.
- Torture of suspected whistleblowers has won.
- Extra-judicial killing has won.
- Corporate welfare has won.
- F.I.S.A. has won.
- Income inequality has won.
- U.S. government allies who use child soldiers have won.
But it’s being done by Democrats, so it’s all okay.
8.27 A guy here says, “Republicans never learn. Who ran the country down? A bunch of fucking Wall Street plutocrats. Who did they run for President? A Wall Street plutocrat.” Like Obama isn’t. This country gets the government its ignorance deserves.
8.25 The friend who brought me to this party voted for Jill Stein. I’m thankful nobody else here seems to know that. We may get out alive.
8.19 I’m amazed at the relief and jubilation among people I’m watching the results with, though they’re unable to describe disagreements between Obama and Romney. Would it be churlish of me to tell them that there really aren’t any?
8.18 Romney has gotten a million more votes than Obama, but Obama has won the electoral college.
8.15pm (Pacific Time) CBS just called the election for Obama. Romney is leading in the popular vote, but Obama has 274 electoral votes. “That is it, it is done,” says the talking head on TV. Some of the folks at this party cheer, and seem to think this will make pot legalization more likely, forgetting that Obama is to the right of Nancy Reagan when it comes to pot. Medical pot is legal in AZ, but the feds keep nixing it.
8.14pm (Pacific Time) Obama won Oregon, much to the delight of the people at the party I’m at in Portland right now. Though Portland is liberal or left, Oregon as a whole tends to be right wing.
6.21pm (Pacific Time) Obama’s still ahead in Florida, though only by about a thousand votes. I’m going to head out and see what Portland people are saying…
5.45pm (Pacific Time)
And now Obama’s pulling ahead in Florida, which surprises me slightly. Maybe Florida Republicans are going with him because he’s just a smarter version of Romney.
5.41pm (Pacific Time)
20 percent of Ohio results are in, with Obama leading by about 200,000. Romney is leading in Florida by one percentage point. Romney a few points ahead in the popular vote nationally, which doesn’t surprise me, since so many of those who voted for Obama last time won’t vote at all this time, or will vote third party.
5.32pm (Pacific Time)
US media is bread and circuses, not journalism. An American friend just emailed me: “I’ve been reading some stuff on the Guardian and am always listening to the BBC. It seems to me that British media’s spin on things is always a little more cynical, more skeptical and more negative about things than the rest of the world. Do you concur?” No, I don’t concur. The US actually has no mainstream media worth reading or listening to. Even the best are so inept that they make real journalism seem cynical or negative.
5.21pm (Pacific Time)
It occurs to me that Obama could ensure victory by having all registered Republicans indefinitely detained without charges or access to lawyers – and that it would be legal for him to do so. Land of the free.
4.50pm (Pacific Time)
According to exit polls, only four percent care about foreign policy. Of that percentage, I wonder if they care more about US soldiers being killed, or the thousands of civilians being killed in drone strikes.
2.02 pm (Pacific Time)
The AP reports that there are problems all over the country at polling stations. Some machines counting Obama votes for Romney, and Obama sometimes listed as a Republican (which, admittedly, is accurate). People have waited in line seven hours, and have had to leave to go to work without voting. There hasn’t been an election this ugly since I moved to the US in 1995. It feels more like a civil war than an election.
12.14pm (Pacific Time)
Worked into the early morning, slept and woke at noon, unconcerned about the result of the election, because there is so little to choose between Obama and Romney. Not that you’d know it from the partisan bitching online. In the US, people support political parties they way they support sports teams. Whether something is right or wrong is less important than who’s doing it. Worse, the other side are regarded as enemies, not opponents.