A View from Blue Grotto

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Christmas comes early

It’s like Christmas at our house.

I love elections. I must admit it – I am a political junkie. Even more so than I am a history junkie. I was riveted to the television these past few weeks, watching every minute of both the Democratic and Republican conventions – the Republican convention being held right here in my home town of St. Paul. What I wasn’t able to watch live, I taped. I mean DVR’d.

I loved Michelle Obama’s speech. I was moved by Fox News commentator Juan Williams’ emotion as he spoke about watching an African American woman speak to the nation as a possible First Lady. I cried during the video introduction of Barack Obama, when he talked about the influence his grandparents had on him as a young man.

I cheered for Sarah Palin as she spoke about the delicate balancing act of mother, wife, elected official and hockey mom {Go Girl Power!}. I cried as she brought that beautiful new baby out on stage and held him, face out, for all of us to see, and to cheer for. I was awed as I shook Henry Kissinger’s hand as he inched along the concourse of the Xcel Center – people mobbing him to have their photo taken with him, to exchange a few words with him, some reaching out just to touch him.

All-in-all I cheered for, was awed by, and inspired by the real meaning of this election, of any election – the history of our country.

The milestones represented by this particular election year interest me most, and might surprise many. Hillary Clinton was not the first woman to run for President. But, she was the first First Lady to seek the top spot. And Sarah Palin was not the first woman to be nominated as Vice President.

Even with the furor over Barack Obama’s campaign, he was not the first African American to run for President. In fact, it was an African American woman, Shirley Chisholm, from the great state of New York to run for the Democratic nomination for President in 1972. Ms. Chisholm was also the first African American to be elected to Congress in 1968.

As I listen to the evening news and ongoing coverage of the election {and for those of you not nearly as excited as myself, as of Primary Tuesday there are only 56 days left} I catch snippets of some great American election trivia. For example, 2008 is the first election to see two sitting Senators face off. I did not know that. Today, I heard an Obama defender cite President Abraham Lincoln’s short experience of only two years in the Senate. I almost laughed out loud. Not at her choice of defense, but of the little-known, and probably never recited factoid about Lincoln. There is a mini-history lesson in every segment on CNN, MSNBC and FOX.

Love it or hate it, the election cycle is a great opportunity to learn, to remember, to appreciate, and to be proud.

Email me with your favorite factoid or American history question from Trivial Pursuit.

And don’t forget to vote on November 4.

Yvonne Hundshamer
President, Blue Grotto Inc.