Tuesday was Election Day all across this great country, and for the sixth consecutive time I cast my vote for President of the United States, as well as Congressional, State and County races.
When I was a kid, my parents would take me to the polls with them, our polling place at the time being the auditorium of my school, Ramona Elementary. It looked curiously different, being populated by grown-ups, and with many of the chairs having been cleared away.
I remember telling my parents that I wanted to vote, but instantly being told that I could not, since I was still too young.
Naturally, I threw a tantrum (Though, come to think of it, I probably just whined…).
Around a decade later, when I finally became of age, I wasted no time on my 18th birthday. I went to the Los Feliz post office and filled out that registration form. My first election was the 1990 Gubernatorial election. It wasn’t until ’92 when I cast my first vote for president — and voted for Bill Clinton like many in my generation.
This time around, the polling place was at another school, Lexington Primary School, which is actually a nice-looking modern construction school that opened in 2005. However, the actual entrance to the polling place — right off an alley — left much to be desired. But perhaps that was a metaphor for democracy itself: It can be ugly, but it’s necessary and functional.
It was around 4:30 p.m. and the room, while not necessarily crowded, was abuzz with activity, pollworkers busy guiding voters along from spotting their name on the rolls to handing out the “I Voted” sticker (Which frustrated me a bit since they handed the sticker to me stuck to my ballot receipt – causing it to lose most of its adhesive properties when I transferred it to my shirt).
Without hesitation I gladly cast my vote to re-elect President Obama to a second term; I’m proud to say that two years ago I was fortunate to serve my country as a volunteer driver in the presidential motorcade during his August 2010 visit. I drove members of the White House press pool and got the opportunity to meet him in person and shake his hand (I had previously shaken his hand in 2007 when he was still a candidate).
As night fell and results and projections were broadcast on TV, Obama’s re-election played out like a Hollywood sequel: A familiar protagonist in a familiar plot, some drama and suspense, and then the happy Hollywood ending.
Later in the evening I biked up to Rockwell in nearby Los Feliz to partake in the victory party of my new US Congressman Adam Schiff, who ran for re-election in a new district (28th) because of the recent congressional re-districting process. No suspense here as Schiff handily won a 72% victory in a heavily Democratic district, which surprisingly stretches from East Hollywood all the way north to Canyon Country(!) Yes, it snows in the 28th Congressional District.
I got to congratulate Schiff and introduce myself, both as a constituent-to-be (effective January 3rd) and an L.A. City Council candidate. He recalled running in an open race like mine back in 1991 when there was an open state assembly seat. Incidentally, I volunteered for one of the candidates back then. He told me, “I hope you do better than I did!” recalling he came in 10th place out of around a dozen candidates.
Cheers went up as swing state results were announced on the big-screen TVs, and everyone watched intently at both Mitt Romney’s classy, gracious concession speech, and Obama’s on-fire victory speech. In contrast to the first presidential debate, Obama’s presidential mojo returned. Or, How Barack Got His Groove Back.
I also met some great folks there, including Michael and Penny Herman from Burbank. Michael runs the Mr. Motivation blog and did a blog post and a brief video interview of me:
It was a great Fall evening celebrating the end of a long campaign season, a hopeful future and…the beginning of yet another campaign season.