As some of you may have heard, Barack Obama was elected President last night. The news was received with angst by some, but with enthusiasm by many, even abroad in countries that Obama may one day be forced to bomb.
In France (which he will probably not bomb, but you never know), the junior Minister for Human Rights described Obama's victory as "the fall of the Berlin Wall times ten," although really, once you had seen that a couple of times you'd probably get bored just like how people eventually quit watching the moon landings. She continued, "On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes." I guess that shows that Obama's campaign slogan, "Bite the Dream," really took hold.
A few states remain too close to call, to the extent it matters, but there are also a few undecided Senate races. In Minnesota, a (former?) comedian is trailing by less than 800 votes out of 3 million cast; in Alaska, a convicted felon is leading by less than 4000 votes out of over 200,000 cast. (Georgia and Oregon races are also still undecided, but less comical.)
Among state ballot measures of note: Washington has voted (59-41%) to allow doctor-assisted suicide; Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, and (more surprisingly) California voted to restrict gay rights to marriage and/or adoption; measures limiting abortion rights also generally were defeated; Michigan will allow stem-cell research; and in perhaps the most important measure addressed in America last night, Maryland voters chose overwhelmingly to permit video lottery machines.
Finally, for those of you interested in San Francisco results, voters here did favor Barack Obama (85-13%), vindicating my dramatic and mavericky prediction from yesterday. Ralph Nader was not a factor, taking only about one percent of the vote. A brave 266 individuals gamely supported the candidacy of Alan Keyes (yes, he was still running for President), many fewer than the 828 who chose an unidentified write-in candidate (I'd guess most of those votes went to Ron Paul).
Most shockingly, however, San Francisco voters chose NOT to decriminalize prostitution OR to rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant after George W. Bush. Maybe they are just tired of legislation through the ballot box — we had to vote on no fewer than 22 local ballot measures this year, plus the state and federal issues. Or maybe they considered the pros and cons of these measures and made reasoned policy decisions.
I'm telling you, if people here are going to start behaving sensibly, I'm moving to Canada.