Election Day Blues by
(294 Stories)

Prompted By First Time Voting

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I don’t remember the first time I voted,  and altho a knee-jerk liberal,  I’ve never been particularly savvy about politics.  But my mother was very much so,  and I’m sure on my first Election Day  I took her advice as I usually have ever since   – “Vote Democratic;  and if candidates run on both the Democratic and a more progressive ticket vote for them on the latter;   and if there’s a woman on the ballot,  vote for her”.  (See Getting Woke and The Fortune Cookie Candidate)

But there was a more recent Election Day I remember vividly –  all too vividly –  November 9, 2016.

Our polling place is a school gym a few blocks from our Manhattan apartment,  and on Election Day I’d always bump into friends and neighbors there.  Then in the late afternoon of that fateful day I headed out to vote,  and approaching the school I saw a line had formed that ran down the block and was slowly inching its way into the building.

“Great,”  I remember thinking,  “ voters are coming out in droves for Hillary!”

Of course I was confident she’d shatter the glass ceiling that night,  and when I spotted a friend on the line we rushed laughing into each other’s arms.  In fact the whole crowd on that eastside street was joyous – laughing and talking and literally dancing on the sidewalk.

But later that night,  as millions of us watched the returns on TV,  the change of mood in the city was almost palpable.

The next morning,  after a long and sleepless night,  I had an appointment across town and so I took the bus.

I happened to sit up front where several seats face each other across the aisle,  and I caught the eye of the woman – a stranger – sitting opposite me.

Without a word I spread out my hands palms open in a helpless gesture.   Without a word,  she did the same.

That day there was no joy in Mudville.

– Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Elections
Characterizations: been there, moving, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    My mother, born in 1913, was a proud FDR Democrat, Dana. She imbued that love of the Democratic party in her children (my father kept silent about his beliefs, he was raised in a Republican household. We never got him to tell us how he voted in 1960, but after that election, he swung blue.) My mother even indoctrinated us to love Adlai Stevenson and we little kids then.

    I remember the 2016 election oh so well also, but also the run-up to it. I was at a lecture, given by the Rose director, late in the afternoon in late October, came out, turned on my car (the radio is always turned to NPR) and heard the news of Comey re-opening the investigation into Hilary’s emails. I started screaming at the radio and had a sinking feeling. Of course I was correct.

    I still get upset, thinking about the anger of people who think that TFG “gets them”, “is on their side”, or “they saw him on TV, so he must be a good business mad”. Insanity!

  2. John Shutkin says:

    Ugh and so true, Dana. I don’t think there will be a similar day in 2024 Mudville with the former guy, but it could be an equally odious Republican who at least manages to avoid indictments.
    But I love your mother’s advice. Indeed, she could have been MY mother and I’m sure they would have gotten on famously.

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    No joy in Mudville is an understatement. Holding my breath on the midterms.

  4. Susan Bennet says:

    I think many of us absorbed the political leanings of our parents, Dana. They are the first people we look up to. (Sometimes I wonder if, in this time, people can be harmoniously married to spouses of a different political bent. It’s rather sad, I think, that this is a point of contention. Couples were always able to respect a difference in religious beliefs.) Respect for differences is something we should teach our children, I think. And perhaps children learn more of this when they this played out at home!

    • Thanx Susan, we certainly are influenced by our parents’ political views, and it’s also true differing views should be tolerated.

      But for me if I find another’s views immoral then the line is crossed, and whether friend or family the relationship unhappily is damaged.

  5. Jim Willis says:

    Nicely done, Dana. You tapped into the memories of the night so many of us would like to forget. How difficult it is to think about possibly going through all that again in 2024 and the months leading up to that election. Your mom had some good advice on how to vote, though!

  6. Thanx Jim, as we wait out this one with bated breath daring to believe the optimists among us!

  7. Laurie Levy says:

    Of course, I remember that night all too well. Since everyone I knew was voting for Hillary, I couldn’t believe what happened. It was so sad when they moved her concession speech to a venue without a glass ceiling.

  8. Dave Ventre says:

    That night, as the disaster became more and more apparent, I found myself on the phone reassuring a distraught friend that we’d survive in the end. I actually wasn’t all that confident, but comforting seemed the thing to do. Even I had no idea how close we would come.

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