Now is not a good time to be staying at my mother’s house, but after poll watching from 6:30am to 7:30pm, I was too tired to safely drive myself anywhere else. My mom’s recent political comments have led me to question her mental health. I can respect the fact that she’s a lifelong, devoted Republican, even though I’m a smelly hippie liberal, but she regularly declares that “those damn Democrats” are wholly to blame for everything from the existence of internet banner ads, to acts of Congress made five years ago, to the war in Iraq, to the recent stock market crash, to the entire income tax system, to global warming, to all identity theft and credit card fraud. The Democrats have the power to steal your money over the phone, to completely override the President, and to retroactively enact laws.

Earlier this week, we were watching David Letterman’s opening monologue on The Late Show, and, apparently still smarting after John McCain stood him up weeks before, Letterman was ripping into McCain with joke after joke. My mother changed the channel for the first time in probably a month, (She has the TV on for most of her waking hours, but almost never notices what’s on it.) complaining again about “Those damn Democrats.”

“McCain must have really hurt his feelings,” I suggested, Democratically.

“No,” said Mom. “He’s one of those Hollywood types. He’s always had it in for McCain.”

I bit my tongue. I was tempted to ask where her tinfoil hat was to protect her from the Democrats she was so sure were in charge of all entertainment, all news media, all government, all businesses, and all weather patterns.

Then it occurred to me: She was right, in a way. There is a Democratic conspiracy, pulling strings to get Barack Obama elected President. It’s huge. It’s pervasive. It’s nationwide. It’s very, very powerful. And as my mom suspects, I’m part of it. I’m referring, of course, to everyone who was inspired by Obama’s message of hope, and who gave money and time, who used whatever kind of influence each of us had, to get Obama elected. He didn’t do it just with money, or shiny special effects. He did it with thousands of people, each using their own everyday influence to chart the course of history. Barack Obama isn’t the only one who won tonight. We all did it, and I’m proud to be part of the conspiracy that has so much power to change the world. I’d like to take this moment to thank just a few members of the conspiracy:

• To David Letterman,

• to Tina Fey,

• to my latest movie star crush, Kal Penn,

• to Oprah Winfrey,

• to all of the other celebrities who toured the country, using their big names and beautiful faces to encourage their fans to vote,

• to every citizen, of every age, who got out and voted for the very first time,

• to Madelyn “Toot” Dunham, who proved the importance of planning ahead and voting early (may she rest in peace, and may she have known in her heart how this election would turn out),

• to the Boulder Democrat who suggested we all say, several times a day, the affirmation “President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden,”

• to Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and all the others who worked to secure my right to cast my vote,

• to all the civil rights activists of the 1960s who risked their lives to ensure that all of the citizens of the United States would be able to stand up and be counted,

• to Shepard Fairey,

• to every individual who gave 50 bucks each to make Obama’s campaign one of the best funded in our nation’s history,

• to every 18-year-old who celebrated one of the most important perks of being a full-fledged adult,

• to the moms and dads who brought their children along to the polls so that they could watch their parents make history,

• to the new citizens who rewarded themselves for all of their hard work by making their voices heard in their new home,

• to the women of Alaska who loudly and proudly declared that Caribou Barbie did not speak for them,

• to Tatsuya Ishida, who writes and draws the marvelous webcomic, Sinfest,

• to the 85-year-old lady in my neighborhood who proudly said that she voted for FDR, and she voted for Obama for the same reasons,

• to Jon Favreau,

• to every ordinary citizen who spent hours knocking on doors and calling up their neighbors to thoughtfully discuss the issues that mattered to them all,

• to the 11-year-old boy who spent hours in my local campaign office, packing up copies of news articles to be mailed to the neighbors who had asked for more information,

• to the volunteers who traveled from Utah, California, Texas, and other non-swing states to make a big difference campaigning in states like Colorado,

• to the families who welcomed those traveling volunteers into their homes for two months,

• to Amy Goodman,

• to the Obama girl on YouTube,

• to the 13-year-old blogger who eloquently dissected the problem of Sarah Palin,

• to the high school girls whose senior prank was covering their school’s lawn with Obama yard signs in the middle of the night,

• to every Facebook friend who changed his or her middle name to Hussein,

• to the Black Eyed Peas,

• to the British citizen, a legal resident of Los Angeles, who spent her last dollar traveling to Colorado to spend months of 12-plus-hour days organizing campaign volunteers, and who is now wondering how she’s going to get home,

• to the wonderful, knowledgeable, fair, and friendly election judges I worked with today,

• to the mothers and grandmothers who lovingly packed sack lunches of peanut butter and jelly, and sack dinners of tuna fish salad, for those of us working the polls today,

• and to the thousands of other hopeful, active, delightful people who I don’t know enough to name here,

I send out my heartfelt thanks. Thank you for being part of the conspiracy that just changed the world. Yes, we can, and yes, we did!

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