I Voted for Hope and Change and Family

One person among milliions, but still, I think I've made a difference

By Abelardo de la Pe??a Jr., El Editor
Published on LatinoLA: November 4, 2008

I Voted for Hope and Change and Family

Last night my wife, Linda, and I pulled out all the election material that has been sent to our home the past weeks by various organizations, individuals, campaigns and candidates. A lot of them had already been tossed out ... they'd been cluttering tabletops, counters, desks, etc. and were duplicates of duplicates. So we settled on one that had a clean layout, simple, to the point summaries of the issues and didn't look too conspicuous to take into the voting booth with us.

We'd both made up our minds on a lot of the California propositions and quickly circled the 'yes' or the 'no'. We debated on a couple of them, mostly to clarify what they were about and that voting 'yes' on one didn't cancel out a 'no' on another.

On the candidates themselves, we were both in agreement. Obama/Biden for president and the Democrat for Congress and Assemblyman. The judges are always a guessing game, so whoever had the most interesting bio got the big circle.

That was that. Until late at night, when I had a dream of being in a McCain/Palin rally and hearing a loud, steady cheer that wouldn't end. My worst nightmare! Rousing myself awake, the sound was our heater which had kicked in, the first time this year. I slowly walked over to the thermostat and turned it off, still shaking, from both the cold and the vision of a Republican victory.

To say that I've been obsessed with this election is an understatement. I have been angry, bitter, puzzled, dismayed and pissed off the last eight years since Bush has been in office. He has sent my two sons off to war (they both are back, intact, although one may be deployed again soon). He and his minions have spied on us, destroyed the economy, allowed right wing wingnuts to decimate our environment, education, standard of living and our status with the rest of the world.

I first saw Barack Obama on TV as he spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. I was mesmerized by his words, his manner, his demeanor. He spoke to something that was still hopeful in me, the promise of the country where I was born. That Bush won re-election was another downer, but knowing that perhaps Obama would rise to the challenge of running for president was cause for hope.

Four years later, we are at the brink of change. I have been following this election season feverishly, obsessively, online via Talking Points Memo, HuffingtonPost, DailyKos, and many more. On LatinoLA, we have had some great political viewpoints by such contributors as Rudolfo Acu??a, Roberto Rodriguez, Roberto Lovato, Alberto Marrero Salas and Al Carlos Hernandez (Amigas: we could use your voices, too!).

And now I'm back from voting. My polling station was in a garage at a nice house at the top of a hill. Not much of a line, but it was still early. Linda went first, taking the list and carefully filling out the ballot. She handed it off to me and, finally, I had my chance to vote. One person among milliions, but still, I think I've made a difference.

Now, comes the wait.

I've got lots of work/work to do, because I'm taking off a few days to visit my son Cristofer and family in El Paso, to meet the newest member of the family, my granddaughter Cassiopeia. He's a military man, so maybe he canceled out my vote, but we won't talk about it. But my vote was for him, my other sons and daughters, and their families.

No matter who wins, life goes on. But my hope and prayers are that the man who will lead our nation for the next four -- hell, let's make it eight -- years is the man who has given me the hope that the best days of our country, our institutions, our family's are still ahead of us. There is a chance that Obama will not be up to the task. This nation is pretty fucked up right now.

But he has given millions of people hope, a value that has been missing from our consciousness for too long a time.

Big props to all the volunteers, staffers, organizers and others on both sides who have give their time to promote this democratic process. I wish I could be out there, doing something, but I'll check in online every now and then to see how we're doing.

And if I remember, I'll take my voting sticker and get that free coffee at Starbucks.

I invite you to tell your story on LatinoLA

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