Maybe We Can

Anna Reagan

I can hear titters of laughter and whoops of joy. Happiness, true undiluted happiness permeates the air. There is one lonesome, guttural cry that stands out from the rest — a resounding “NO!” that reminds me that this is the end of a battle. I hear someone shout, “It’s been eight years!” as if they just cannot believe it’s all finally over. For a Tuesday night, the hallways are electrified and most don’t seem to have a care in the world. I’m all alone — away from a TV set and away from the others. You see, people have been looking at me all day as if they just found out I have some incurable disease. Or they just look particularly smug. I don’t know which is worse.

The secret that I have been holding out is that I’m a Republican. I guess I can’t hide from it now. Sometimes when outright asked, I waffle for a moment and try to lessen the degree of surprise and even disgust that I know will probably come across that person’s face. I voted for John McCain — the number 12 bubble on my absentee ballot. But my pen did hover over the little oval meant for Barack Obama, if even for a second. In that moment I thought about how nice it would be to be on the winning side on Election Day, how nice it would be to join in the cheers and to one day be able to say that the first time I voted for a president it was for him — the one so adored. He is the one so many have hope in.

But the real difference between them and me is simply that I don’t. I like to think that I don’t see Obama like the media portrays him: a cure for a sick, sad country. His policies worry me and his connection to William Ayers and Reverend Wright startle me. But I do like him. Really, I do. I think it’s because of his essence, for lack of a better word. If I want my would-be president to have any kind of temperament, I would like him to have Barack’s. Hell, I’d even like to have his temperament and his grace.

He’s effortlessly cool and just so calm and collected. His smile is dashing and his voice is melodic. Compared to the nasally, hulking McCain, Obama is a regular Cary Grant (or the more accessible Brad Pitt).

Right now, in this room away from the adoring fans who are unbelievably happy and relieved to see that they’ll be getting a huge encore from their guy, I’m surprisingly content. I voted for McCain but in my heart of hearts I somewhat yearned for Obama to win. No doubt, this will surprise many who know me and my politics. I’ll be happy (and even intrigued) to know what it is like to live in a time when my country isn’t ruled by someone who is decidedly hated by so many. I want Obama to be what people hope him to be. I want him to try and bring together people. I want him to be something bigger than himself. I’m just afraid that it is impossible.

The fact remains, though, I didn’t vote for him. All day I have been wondering why. Did I make the right choice? Was I stubborn? I don’t rightly know the answer.

I don’t even know why I’m sharing this with so many people who will now think of me as the “phony Republican.” I think I just want to say that it’s not so black and white. I want the best. When I voted, I voted for who I thought would be just that. But I’m willing to admit that I am a fallible creature who, at the end of the day, may have made the wrong judgment call. Or maybe I’ve finally been taken in and drank the Obama Kool-Aid.