I rode my bike to Midtown today to meet a friend for coffee. On the way home, I decided to detour by the Obama office to see if I could sign in and help out for an hour or so.
I got to the door just as a woman and her two daughters were showing up, so I held it open for them. Then I glanced to my right and noticed that Senator Claire McCaskill was coming in right behind them.
McCaskill was there for a pep talk for the troops, and the local TV crews were all inside waiting for her.
The volunteers gathered around, looked to be at least fifty or so, while she delivered an impromptu stump speech. She said she'd been through many campaigns in "Missour-uh" and she'd never seen anything like this one.
"Usually when I show up at a campaign office this close to an election, I already know everybody," she said. "Here, most of you are strangers. How many of you are working on your first campaign."
Most of the hands shot up.
When I went to the counter to get my assignment, the woman handed me a map of a six-block area around Prospect. I told them I was on my bike, and I didn't have a backpack, so I couldn't really do it. I agreed to come back tomorrow. As if for consolation, she handed me a flyer for Joe Biden's appearance tomorrow in Lee's Summit. Everyone is so happy and friendly at the field office.
As I rode home through the Eastside, noticing the vacant storefronts and weedy lots, I thought about all the people out fanning the city, making sure everyone knows where to vote and has a ride to the polls. I wished I could be out knocking on doors along Prospect. A friend of mine on Facebook said she was out there yesterday. She's white. I thought it kind of neat to think of all these white people walking in black neighborhoods, not only not scared but actually grateful to not be in a white neighborhood, where the chances of running into a cranky McCain-Palin supporter would be much greater.
This seems to me to be a good thing.
Then I rode by the projects where a bunch of kids were out playing in the courtyard. Judging by the size of them, I'd guess the only president they've ever known is Bush. And now we're about to elect the first black president.
Some of the kids I know from Central are going to vote for the first time in their lives, and they're about to elect the first black president.
There was a poll released today that explains the blissful formlessness of this post. It was a dazzling autumn day, 70 degrees. Perfect.