Now that the votes are counted and some are getting recounted here in the Granite State, I thought I'd come back from my accidental diary hiatus (haven't been doing anything special or important, just haven't diaried in a while) and tell you what happened this time around now that I'm in New Hampshire again. (No need to ask why. It's a really long story caused mostly by horrible pollution from fracking, I think). The story is under the orange squiggle.
I woke up early on Tuesday and went down to the polls in Wilton, NH. The line was stretched down the street and almost to the next block by the time we started filing into the town hall/art gallery/movie theatre. While I was there, a couple of people from the Wilton Democrats, including our illustrious chair Gail, were standing with signs and offering hot beverages to voters. I would be doing the same job in Lyndeborough, sans the hot beverages, after I finished voting. After voting, I went to pick up my signs and went to Citizens Hall in Lyndeborough to do my job for the Democrats. I brought my signs from the car and I stood in the shadow of the building.
Next to me was a right wing nutjob named Frank Edelblut who was running to be one of four hundred state representatives this time around. He passed pleasantries with the voters who walked by and gave off an air of entitlement and inevitability, almost as if the race was a mere formality. And, all the while, I stood in the cold New Hampshire air and the shadow of Citizens Hall.
The day continued on and two candidates for seats elected from Lyndeborough came along after Frank left: Kermit Williams (D) and Rep. Bill Condra (R). They chatted with each other and Kermit talked with me for a while. It was still very early in the day and the temperature very cold as we stood with the sun moving slowly overhead. I continued waving to voters and saying hello to them, thanking them for coming as they left. Mostly, however, I stood.
Another Democratic candidate came by after Condra and Williams left; Steve Spratt, who came with his wife and his horse of a Great Dane wearing a blanket with Steve Spratt for Representative written on it. We stood together for a while, chatting in the growing sunlight, the air starting to warm around us. The ground softened a little, the voters continued going in and out, and through it all, I stood.
Frank Edelblut's wife came by later on and held a sign, asking voters to vote for her husband Frank over and over again. She spoke with her friend quietly and remarked about wanting to go to bed early. She decided against it, saying she was concerned that if the President didn't like the election results that he might declare martial law. And while they stood there spinning outrageous conspiracy theories, the voters kept coming, and I stood.
The day continued on and other campaign workers stopped by, allowing me to take five minutes for lunch. I quickly came back and took my post up again. Gail came along as well to check in and bring some baked goods and some water for me. She told me to leave once it was too dark to see the signs. I agreed and waved goodbye and continued greeting voters as I stood watching them stream in and out.
Edelblut's wife came back later in the day and started asking for votes for her husband again. She stood with a guy in his late teens or early twenties who was going to join an evangelical group called Operation something. (Sorry I don't remember. It was cold and I really couldn't possibly care less what he was doing after the campaign.) A man came up and made a joke to her about how the Republicans would start doing better now that it was getting later because that's when people started getting out of work. She smiled and after the guy next to her explained what the joke meant and how it was just saying that liberals are lazy and shiftless she liked it very much. And as they smiled and joked about the patriotism and work ethic of people like me, I stood.
Another man walked by and gave me a thumbs down as the voters filed in and out as the sun went down. Yet another told me I was in for a bad night. I politely disagreed and he laughed and continued on. Edelblut's wife and the guy continued laughing and joking and asking for votes for Frank and the voters kept going in and out. The sun went down and I stood.
It finally got too dark to see the signs and I remembered what Gail told me. I stood there for another half an hour and finally decided to listen to what she said and began packing up. It took two trips to gather the signs together and put them into the car and as I came back for the second trip, Edelblut's wife looked at me and said that she thought I was giving up. I looked back and said that I was just following the plan. She offered no thanks for taking part, no goodbye, no further words at all. I quietly packed up the signs, dropped them off and went home, shivering, sore, and cramped.
You know the rest of the story. President Obama, Governor Maggie Hassan, Representatives Kuster and Shea-Porter, and even Kermit Williams and Steve Spratt. The Democrats swept all the seats in Lyndeborough and Wilton (with Frank Edelblut coming in dead last). I stood in New Hampshire. I didn't just stand in the cold and the wind. I stood for equality. I stood for justice. I stood because I am my brother's keeper and I expect he will be mine. I stood because women are equal to men and deserve the right to control their health and their bodies. I stood in New Hampshire and to everyone who stood all across the country and in all the different ways you could, I only have this to say. Thank you.