Tuesday morning - Election Day - I woke up at 2:15 a.m. and got ready to spend the day with my friend Angela, who was running for Congress.
By 4 a.m. we were on the road to a "dawn patrol" breakfast at the Teamsters. At 6:30 a.m. we were standing outside a polling location (in high heels, I might add), freezing cold and talking to voters. We spent the day traveling around the Fifth Congressional District here in Ohio visiting polling places, talking to voters and hoping for a win.
Tuesday night at about 11:30 p.m. - shortly after President Obama won re-election - my friend Angela conceded the loss of her race.
This is still sinking in today - the day after the election.
As happy as I am that our president was re-elected, I'm also incredibly sad to see such a spirited and inspirational congressional campaign come to an end with this loss.
It's a sad day, but it's also a day of reflection on what this the past few months have meant. Working on a congressional campaign for a friend who inspires
me and whom I admire and love dearly has been a life-changing
Spending the last six months working on this campaign and dealing with
all the insanity that can (and does) happen on social media has been at
times exhausting, fulfilling, amusing, frustrating, and well downright
amazing. It might sound silly to some, but watching the candidate's
"social media numbers" grow every day was exciting for me. (And yeah,
perhaps I need to get out more, but whatever).
When you're part of a campaign staff and every day is filled with the "big things" sometimes you need to allow yourself to get excited about the "little things" like Twitter followers and "Likes" on Facebook. Or maybe it's just a social media thing and you either "get it" or you don't.
Either way, when it became apparent last night that the gap in the numbers was too big to overcome and that the race was lost, it was as if the wind had gone out of our sails. All of us on the campaign staff were somber - despite having started the night in a flurry of nerves and excitement. Tears flowed freely as my friend and candidate talked to us about fighting the good fight and friendships and never giving up.
It was a strange moment ... in front of me stood one of the most dedicated, brilliant, hard-working and just downright amazing women I know, conceding an election that she worked so hard to win. And on the screen behind me was video of huge crowds of people cheering for the re-election of our president. As much as I wanted to celebrate that moment for the president, I couldn't celebrate. I wanted to allow myself to cry and be sad for the campaign we lost.
And we did cry.
And we hugged each other.
And we said "next time...."
Today as I see so many hostile posts on Facebook and Twitter - calling people 'idiots' (or worse) for voting for (or against) the president - I just want to remind these people how lucky we are that we live in a country as amazing as this.
We live in a country where we have this amazing right to cast our votes for the person we think will best represent us. Do you know how lucky you are?
These elections aren't about the debates or the TV commercials or the hateful and hurtful social media messages. These elections are about us ... we the people. You don't have to agree with everyone or every candidate, but you do need to remember that this is all bigger than the TV soundbites and the campaign yard signs.
I was lucky enough to be part of something that was so much bigger than you or me ... and that's not something many people can say at the end of the day. And so today, as I celebrate four more years of a president I fully support...I also grieve the loss of a campaign that would have made a difference for the people of Ohio's Fifth Congressional District.
But as sad as I feel...I am also inspired by the friendships and unity and incredible support that I saw during the course of this campaign. It might have been a long, difficult road with many twists and turns and potholes, but it is a road I would travel again with my friend and all the amazing people we met along the way.