Your Most Memorable Moment of the Election

By JoAnne Hewett | November 4, 2008 2:39 am

The arena at has an interesting Q&A today. The question is “What, for you, was the most memorable moment of this long race for the presidency.” The responses run from the obvious (Obama’s now famous race speech) to the very personal (`my 6-yr old daughter didn’t realize that a woman had never been president of the US’). Anyway, I invite you all to go have a look, provided you enjoy year-end lists.

And, I’d thought it would be great to hear from the ultra-intelligent, ultra-interesting, avid CV readers what their response is to this question. So, please, write a comment and let us know, “What, for you, was the most memorable moment of this long race for the presidency.”

I’ll start! For me, the most memorable moment happened last Saturday. I had just returned from China and called my parents to let them know I was home. The conversation turned to politics, inevitable this time of year. Usually we step on eggshells whenever this subject arises (my parents are die-hard Republicans, but I love them anyway), but this time we were all speechless. In awe of my Uncle Chuck.

Uncle Chuck is my favorite uncle – we are the scientists in the family. He came home after serving in the Navy in the South Pacific during WWII and went to school on the GI bill. Ended up with a master’s in mathematics. Worked at Oak Ridge National Lab on the very first computer systems. Went on to NASA and was one of the folks in charge of the computer program rewrites to get the Apollo 13 astronauts safely back home. He has done tremendous things and is very smart. But, he’s lived most of his life in the deep South and has somehow developed a deep racial prejudice that most of the family can’t understand. We have cringed for years whenever he has espoused on the virtues of the Bell Curve in regards to race. I could go on, but think I’ll hold back and just say he is the most racially bigoted person I know. I can’t fathom some of the things I have heard him say.

On Saturday, I learned that Uncle Chuck cast his early ballot for Senator Barack Obama for President of the USA. Nothing could have surprised me more! No matter what happens with the election tomorrow, Obama has already stirred deep, positive change in our society.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Personal, Politics
  • Rosie

    The most memorable moment for me was when my husband forced me to watch the speech in which Obama announced his candidacy. I had no interest in politics, and although I figured I would vote for someone I had no idea who at the time.

    His speech was so inspiring he started me on the path of becoming involved in politics. Even on our meager income we contributed to his campaign and we spread the word in our circle.

  • Don

    The most memorable moment will likely happen sometime later today, I would think.

  • jim

    I think the most memorable moment will be in about 15 hours when we’ll be watching images of old men on the street weeping out loud with joy.

  • Jeff

    I headed down during primary season to see a local Obama rally held at the Petersen Events Center on Pitt’s campus, and the most memorable thing about this campaign was the two mile long line of students waiting to get into the arena. This is only my second presidential election (voted Badnarik last time) and back during primary season Obama was still a new phenomenon… but I’ll never forget how that line just went and went and went as far as you could see. Incredible. I’m sure tonight will be just as memorable.

  • pnb

    Mine was when Ralph Nader decided to run. And I have spent the time since then defending that choice against replies of, “Are you serious?”

    Until one of the major-party candidates takes a (truly) progressive stance on even one issue, Nader will have my vote.

  • teadrinker

    I am just thrilled that after 8 years we will finally
    have a leader who can speak in clear, full, articulate
    sentences without a southern twang.

    Buh Bye, Bush!

  • Anne

    My most memorable moment was talking to my father. He was drafted and sent to Vietnam; he even voted for Nixon (because he said he’d bring the boys home). Now my father’s a Canadian citizen, retired and living in Canada. And my father told me he’d never cared as much about any election as he did about this one.

  • greg

    Hearing a few days ago that 41% of eligible voters in NC had already voted prior to election day and that similar returns had been seen in other states as well. This is especially impressive because of the fact that only 55% of voters voted in 2004. The last time turnout was over 65% was 100 years ago, in 1908. The last time it was over 80%, which is what we’re on pace for, was in 1876.

  • scott

    My mother had previously been a McCain supporter, because Obama made her vaguely uneasy. But after McCain chose Palin as his running mate, my mother immediately considered him unqualified due to poor judgment. Now she plans on voting for Obama.

  • Spiv

    Honestly the most memorable for me so far was the Palin/Couric interview. I came away from that offended that this was the caliber of person the republican party thinks is best fit to run the country. Sure she learned to get up there and babble on in a semi-coherent manner; it’s still the same person. It made me realize that the party is no longer the GOP, the constitutionally and financially conservative group that it may have been. It’s been taken over in whole by a far right cast who are willing to do and say anything to get people offended at the other candidate, or “fire up the base.”

    At this point though the whole thing just makes me sick to hear about it. I can’t wait for tonight to be over with so I don’t have to get the endless emails full of stuff that 10 seconds on snopes refutes entirely, and then hear them verbally pooped out by people who might very well be intelligent that have been tricked into believing the garbage.

    It’s good to see a lot of Good Ol’ People being logical though, even if it’s not the majority of them.

  • myrtle parker

    The most memorable moment for me was hearing that John McCain would suspend his campaign and return to Washington to hammer out a bipartisan solution to the calamity on Wall Street. And then learning this would mean McCain would ditch the debate. And then learning that he had talked to Obama moments before his decision to suspend the campaign and then immediately went out and held a press conference. And then learning that McCain basically did *nothing* in Washington while he was there and then backtracked and *did* show up at the debate and got his clock cleaned by Obama.

    That was the most memorable moment and I think the sequence of disastrous decisions and evasions that cemented in the publics mind that *this* John McCain was not the one we saw in 2000.

    That was the defining moment for me.

  • Ryan

    The most memorable moment during the campaign was reading Obama’s race speech right here on Cosmic Variance. I think Jon Stewart really summed it by saying, a bit incredulously, “Obama spoke to us as we were adults.”

  • Mandeep Gill

    Most memorable: the day after the Iowa Caucus. i hadn’t paid any attention to the race until then, figuring it would settle as it would, all Dems were roughly the same other than my fave, Kucinich, had a snowball’s chance of getting a fair treatment by the corporate media and getting far.

    But then — Iowa voted for a black guy — i repeat: A BLACK GUY. a state that is 106% white (in the words of a joking post once on Daily Kos) voted for a PERSON OF COLOR. and then i listened to Obama’s acceptance speech, with the same amazing cadences of his 2004 DNC speech and then i knew — this was no ordinary election. this was no ordinary year.

    Since then, i’ve spent a bit *too* much time following this, vs. working on my lensing code (and i tell you, i don’t know about others, but for a while, i *have* to go cold turkey on news starting tmrw!!!), but with the win we will get tonight, 8 bitter grim miserable years of our lives are suddenly going to be washed away in a nanosecond.

    No, the memories won’t all go away, and i do *not* expect things to become wonderful overnight — but i expect *everything* to start turning around in a different way, and most centrally for scientists, better attitudes and approaches to science, which ultimately *will* translate to better funding and support.

    So yep, the win in the bitter cold of Iowa of January 2008 is one of the moments i will most clearly remember from this entire year.

    Peace out.

  • changcho

    JoAnne – nice and intersting story! There’s hope after all…I did my part; voted before going to work; it went very smoothly, no lines.

  • Sean

    Ryan stole mine (although I saw the speech before it was on CV, obviously).

    Being spoken to like an adult! About difficult issues! During a political campaign! Truly a memorable experience.

  • Elliot Tarabour

    My most memorable moment was when my daughter participated in the Iowa caucuses for Obama. This was her first presidential election. It seem that something big was about to happen and I was proud of her for helping get it started.

    In about an hour I’ll vote myself and I still get goose bumps. I’m usually pretty cynical but not today.


  • graviton383

    I was thrilled this AM to see crowds piled up at my polling place before 7AM..I’ve never seen that was thrilling…

  • LiquidThinker

    I am hoping that my most memorable moment will be later tonight when Obama is announced the winner of this race. Aside from that, I would have to say a toss up between Obama’s race speech to Americans as adults, Palin’s Couric interview, and Tina Fey. More of a movement than a moment, but I’d also say the whole Science Debate concept as well.

  • Ben Lillie

    There were many moment, but just now, nearly 4 miles away, I could hear the cheers from Grant Park when Pennsylsvania was called for Obama.

  • spyder

    There are two polarized moments that came crashing together about three hours ago. Forty years ago, i was able to vote for my first time in a US Presidential election; the CA primary in June, 1968. Not more than four hours after i had cast my first vote, the candidate for whom i voted was shot to death. For the next forty years, election after election (and 28 years of those administrations) has been manipulated and controlled by the same cadre of power elites hell bent on destroying: this country, the US Constitution, and the wonder of possibilities. Then three hours ago, i sat in front of my TV and watched NBC call the election for Barack Obama. I felt amazing free, overwhelmed by relief. An announcement that meant the bastards are finally out of office, out of power. I couldn’t stop the tears running down my cheeks.

  • Carola

    Channel surfing in February of 2007, I caught a glimpse of my hometown, Springfield, Illnois. I watched Obama announce his intention to run for President. I’ve been hoping ever since in the America I grew up believing in. An America that pulls together for the good of all.

    The youth of America have reminded us of our core values.

    At almost 60, I am in their debt for taking my country back from corporate greed and self-centered politics that preyed on small minded people’s fears and lesser natures.

  • Neil B ?

    Other than the projected Presidential win for Obama: taking Virginia. For those of us who worked here to canvass and register voters, it was especially poignant and rewarding to have won this state. I didn’t do as much as I could have. Still, it helped and that made me feel a part of history not just for the USA and the world, but my state as well. The young “kids” who had been organizing for Obama around here were happy but dazed, as if they couldn’t believe it. We had record voter turnout, I don’t have exact figures yet.

  • Father Nature

    For me the sublime moment came when I saw Jesse Jackson in the jubilant crowd in Chicago with tears running down his face.

    I was 11 when JFK took office and the spirit of optimism and hope that he inspired has been, for the most part, missing for 45 years. For all of our sakes, I hope that President Obama will succeed in leading the country toward a better future.

  • Charon

    On the way home from an election party on the 4th, my bus passed through the University District in Seattle (at about 11:30 PST). There were college students running through the streets waving American flags.

    I couldn’t offhand think of any time that likely happened since 1945.

  • Angus McPresley

    I campaigned down here in Melbourne, Australia to track down Americans and get them to register for overseas voting. I was at a major train station in the middle of town with my Obama shirt on, handing out literature, when a familiar looking guy came up and chatted with me a while. After he left, I realized it was Chas from The Chaser’s War On Everything (the show where, most famously, they crashed the APEC summit here, getting within shouting distance of Bush’s hotel with a Bin Laden impersonator).


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