Thursday, November 06, 2008
my election day
The presidential campaigning has been endless..... constant interviews and adverts on the tv, people waving placards at road junctions, canvassers on the streets, signs in yards, on buildings, cars and trucks, tee shirts, baseball caps, badges and stickers.
Not only does the USA vote for their next president at election time, a whole raft of other decisions are put to the population of each state, ranging from electing the new Fire Chief or administrators to raising taxes for a new rail link or medicare projects, along with local government representatives, the list goes on.
Here in California hot voting topics are to do with decisions to abolish the right to same sex marriage, changes to animal cruelty laws, the rights of victims of crime, funding for new regional transport systems and decisions on renewable energy. Each ward of each county in each state has a different set of decisions to make, it is incredibly complex and allows the population to have a say in all sorts of matters that we in the UK have to rely on our MP's to deal with.
I shan't go on, apart from to wish "the new leader of the free world" success in all that he promises to do for them/us and be disappointed that, in this progressive state, the right for same sex marriages has been overturned. From what i have experienced, this is not what the majority of people wanted but was overturned due to confusion in the way the votes had to be cast. ie: vote NO to keep same sex marriage legal and vote YES if you disagree. It will be hotly contested.
My day was full. 'Chef' David from the restaurant invited me to visit a farm up in the hills above Monterey Bay. He wanted to check out what was going to be available for his spring menu. The farm is lovingly looked after by Jean, a retired, scientist, collector. He has the most diverse collection of citrus in north america, an ever growing collection of apples, barns packed with 1934 Ford cars that he restores. His wooden framed house is packed with interesting collections of bottles, boxes, jams, piles of obscure books and beautiful teak furniture. He enthused passion and excitement in everything he showed us. I could have stayed for weeks. We checked out the cars and the house, picked and sampled fruit from numerous trees; sweet, tart, acidic, dry, sour beyond belief, zesty, tangy, bland and mysteriously tasty. I understand why 'chef' likes the farm so much.
(the one illustrated is called 'budda's fingers')
After the farm we headed back to Santa Cruz, about an hour away, calling in on a locally renowned butchers for more inspiration. Caught the last of the afternoon sunshine on the porch with a delicious bottle of bubbly and then chilled in front of the TV whilst the election results came through.
Wine flowed and Pim conjured up a wonderful chicken noodle soup dinner for the small group of friends that had gathered. When the election result was beyond reasonable doubt, the noise of fireworks started to fill the night sky and whoops of joy could be heard from the street. We headed out, walking the two blocks to downtown into a mass impromptu gathering. Pacific Avenue was filled with people of all ages, all smiling and shouting and high fiving each other. A constant stream of cars with horns blaring, proceeded slowly through the crowds, smiling waving occupants rejoicing the news. The carnival atmosphere was unexpectedly emotional and, according to several people, a quite unprecedented reaction to the election of a new president.
We partied with the crowd for quite a while, soaking up the atmosphere and discussing the results. It was one of those occasions where complete strangers spoke and hugged and came together as one happy family. I hope that it is a sign of things to come. The Irish bar, the "Poet and Patriot" was packed and noisy and reminded me so much of the pubs back home, but still open in the small hours of the morning. Celebratory Guiness, passable for this side of the pond, went down a treat, a short stroll back to David and Pims. Destination sofa, to sleep like the dead.