Elections get me wired up. It’s not the adrenaline rush of a candidate running for office. It’s not the excitement of a journalist covering the story. It’s a little simpler than that, but at the same time, it’s more complex.
My profession is heavily affected by public policy. I am a public school teacher in Wisconsin, and public perception of my job can sway those who determine my salary, my benefits, my working conditions, and in general, my job itself.
Elections get me wired because the results matter. An election is never abstract for me. The people in office make decisions that govern (no pun intended) my everyday work. Be it state or federal, every single budget that passes contains elements that drive educational policies.
The polls are open from 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. I like to vote early and get that task off my shoulders. Then I only have to worry about all the other voters. Will the turnout be strong? Will voters really understand the issues at hand? Will the election results be – well, will my candidates win?
I shouldn’t have been wired on the day of this primary election, but I was. On May 8th I was very tense, and I wasn’t alone in my sentiments. The air around the office (school, virtual style) was thick with moods and nerves and even an occasional strong discussion, er, argument. I kept busy with phone calls and grading. I made more calls than scheduled, held an impromptu lesson online with a struggling math student, cleaned my computer keyboard, drank too much coffee, suggested a photo essay on the variety of coffee mugs in the office, surreptitiously checked my coworkers for their “I Voted” stickers, and then finally reached the end of the day and went home.
At home, I checked the messages (only one, a reminder to vote), hugged the bunny, brought in the mail, threw out the junk mail, and then settled down. Sort of. Since the predicted rainstorm hadn’t moved in yet, I transplanted Chuck’s cilantro from its cute but tiny cappuccino mug into a larger pot and added more seeds. Next, I transplanted the thyme into a pot more suitable for its size. You’ve heard of moving heaven and earth? I just settled for moving thyme.
I watched the news, updated blogs, checked Twitter and Plurk, and shared yesterday’s post (did I call the gov a skunk? Nah) via Facebook. I watched Jeopardy. Nibbled on Chuck’s homemade guacamole. Took out the compost bucket, covered the pail of potting soil, brought in an armload of firewood – you get the picture. I couldn’t, couldn’t, could not stay still. I baked cookies! It was a huge batch of dough (not unlike the size of Walker’s campaign war chest), so it took a while to bake all of it.
Finally, I settled in to watch the election results. The rest of the nation is watching Wisconsin right now. What will they see?