Our downstairs neighbors do not own a television, and so we invited them to join us on election night to watch the returns. They accepted and didn't let on that they could have easily gotten all the coverage they needed via their computers and phones and had little need of our "television offer." It was truly fun to celebrate the results with them. They are all so clever and funny and charming, and it was such a treat to host them. The boys were excited to plan a party, including a red white and blue menu, patriotic decorations, and entertainment possibilities for the evening.
Presidential Puppet Theatre:
Patriotic Drinks. We will call the blue one the Gobama! and the red one Biden My Time. We had ingredients to make a Mint Romney, but no one wanted one (I don't actually like mint drinks, so it was funny this was the Romney drink). Hannah suggested we make one and just let it sit there, untouched, for the entire night.
Free will fruit and cheese plate:
Green party guacamole:
Melting Pot Minestrone:
And scones for the only kind of tea party we can abide:
Here they are: David, Brianna and Hannah, drinking some practically radioactive blue margaritas.
Max was our political junkie of the evening, spending the first part of it in the office (where three computers were set up, each on a different website, tracking the election results). He'd run in to let us know when a particular state had been called and then mark it on our map with a red or blue post-it note. Otto decorated them with the appropriate sentiment (either "Boo!' or "Go!").
We retired to the living room and the couch/floor/bean bags to eat our minestrone and watch as more results poured in.
During a slow period, Max and Otto performed a little Presidential Puppet Theatre for a very encouraging and supportive audience. Max and Otto are somewhere behind the couch cushions, and periodically an Obama or Romney or Biden or Romney puppet head would pop up and smack around one of the other puppet heads. I think their play went on for almost half an hour. (Have I mentioned how much I adore our downstairs neighbors?)
Otto checked in to make sure there were plenty of blue M&Ms in play.
Max was committed to the election and didn't want to stop until we saw it through. We had several websites going, NPR in the kitchen and MSNBC on TV (although we skipped around to a few other channels to see what they were showing as well). It was sort of a weird limbo period when they called the election on all the networks, but our trusted news sources (namely, the New York Times) were nowhere near making the call. We all agreed to hold out a bit longer for some more trusted results. Martin made us all a Cup 'a Joe Biden, so we could stay awake.
We finally had to call it, at least for our own household, due to fading constituents. We felt comfortable doing so, given that all the networks had been there for more than an hour. Bubbly was opened.
Our neighbors left us, and as fate would have it, we learned that Romney would soon be giving his concession speech. We rallied to watch it. And in the meantime, we updated our Official Electoral College M&M Count:
Oh, and I wanted to say here that Brianna asked me if I had seen this totally inspired blog with a similar idea for using M&Ms for counting all sorts of things revolving around the electoral college. I had not seen this before the party and am a bit miffed to discover I am not as original as I had thought—and to admit that he is so much more clever than I am. But I certainly intend to steal his ideas in earnest in the future.
We thought Romney's concession speech was the best thing we'd heard from him the entire campaign (but isn't that what a concession speech is supposed to do? make you think he's actually a more decent guy than you had previously thought?), and even though we felt contempt for him just a couple of hours earlier, we had to acknowledge all his disappointed family and supporters and imagine how we would feel if the results had been different. Of course, this sentiment was easily subdued by tuning into the crowd in Chicago, who were dedicatedly rocking out to the same soundtrack that I imagine they had been listening to for the last several hours, waving their flags, hugging each other, and waiting for their president to address them.
We made the wise decision to get ready for bed while we waited around almost another hour for Obama to give his victory speech (was he still writing the speech or what was the hold up?). We ended up watching it from the comfort of the warm bed, all of us huddled together under the covers, Otto fighting to keep his eyes open, Max holding the laptop and listening to every word. It was a long night, and perhaps a bit anti-climactic, compared to the elation we felt at the 2008 election, but it was still very gratifying, and we had a great time with our own little celebration.
Here's to four more years. I hear the best is yet to come.