Since 1984, every year in which there is a presidential election, the Murphy/Deans of Edgewood in Cranston, have held a small get-together for friends and family. As Casa Diablo regulars, peace and justice progressive types, and, not coincidentally, family members through marriage, P&J have been regular election night attendees.
One of the traditions of the Murphy/Dean get-together is that the non-voting younger family members, Miranda and Rosemary, roll up a large supply of socks before the guests arrive to throw at the television screen whenever a candidate the assembled would like to see lose (e.g., President Bush, John McCain, most Republicans) rears their puss on the tube. (This tradition could be changing, however, as Miranda has informed us that she’ll be eligible to vote in 20012.)
Jim and Jane, respective leading lights of the host clan, provided much tasty food and beverage for the guests, including a cake with the visage of soon-to-be-president-elect Barack Obama, a gift from the gods, by the way, for political cartoonists with his bony frame and easily caricatured features.
An early guest came wearing plastic gun-totin’ Sarah Palin drag and was later joined by a man in a suit with an Obama mask. It turned out to be BeloJo ace investigative re-porter and neighbor, Mike (Prince of Providence) Stanton, who helped form an instant non-partisan “Barack ’n’ Bullwinkle” ticket.
While we hate the clichéd phrase “cautious optimism,” that was pretty much the mood in the early hours of the evening. Like Red Sox fans of old, after so many years of disappointment, the vast majority of this liberal/progressive crowd (there were a few conservatives and Republicans in attendance) braced itself for another surprise kick in the head.
When NBC announced that it was calling Pennsylvania for Obama, there were cheers, although there were much louder cheers 15 minutes later, when Fox grudgingly made the same call. Possible explanations: if Fox calls it for Obama, it must be true, because it’s the last thing they want to do. Also, as activist/author (and as running mate with Sonia Johnson on the Citizen’s Party ticket in 1984) Richard Walton put it, “I’ll enjoy watching Fox eat some crow tonight.”
An occasional opportunity to toss socks and boo at the screen arose when a US Senate race was called for a Republican (like the Gomer Pyle-esque South Carolina senator, Lindsey Graham), but things were still unusually quiet until Ohio was announced for Obama.
People were beginning to dare to believe. A new day dawns in the USA a few hours early at 11 pm, when most news outlets confirm that Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States. Your superior correspondents decided to postpone calling House Minority leader (and local McCain chair) Bob Watson for a couple of days, to remind him that he owes Jorge a meal at the Capital Grill. The laundry basket full of balled-up socks was still largely full.
Due to the current chaos at the Urinal, what with those annoying layoffs and gutting of local news-gathering capabilities, Phillipe + Jorge were excited to see a bulky Sunday BeloJo arrive on the doorstep of Casa Diablo last Sunday, November 2.
But upon opening, we noted that the heft seemed to be concentrated not in the area of journalistic endeavor, but in an ad package that would give one of Hannibal’s elephants a hernia.