6:00-7:30 am. Out of bed at six o'clock. Clear skies, with a forecast high of 70°F and voter turnout projected at around 80% in Minnesota. The first results are already in from Dixville Notch, the small New Hampshire village where polls open at midnight. For only the second time in history, Dixville Notch chose the Democratic Presidential candidate.
The last few weeks of the election season have been strange in Northfield. Last week, Northfield's mayor was charged with five counts of misconduct by an elected official and two counts of conflict of interest following a protracted investigation of his conduct in office. This came on top of news that a candidate for city council had been charged with removing public documents from City Hall. Finally, and most bizarrely, a visiting theater professor at St. Olaf College was charged with a misdemeanor, and forced to resign from his position, after confessing in an essay on the Huffington Post that he had stolen McCain/Palin lawn signs along rural Highway 19.
At 6:30 a.m., Clara and I were at Goodbye Blue Monday, getting our large coffees and almond croissants from Ryan, one of my former Latin students at Carleton. Griff Wigley, Northfield's uberblogger, was already in his customary seat in the front corner of the coffee shop, blogging the start of Election Day. With coffee in hand, Clara and I walked up the hill to the First United Church of Christ to vote. At 6:45 am, there were already about two dozen people in line ahead of us, including a pair of students eager to vote before their 8:00 am chemistry lab. Behind us in line was an American history teacher who had an amazing amount of election history at her fingertips. She was able to tell us, for example, that it was the Twenty-Third Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1961, that gave the District of Columbia Presidential electors. Meanwhile, another fifty or so people had joined the line in back of us.
The doors opened at 7:00 a.m. and we had another ten minutes or so in line before we signed in and received our official ballots . At about 7:15 am, I was walking out of the church with a red "I Voted" sticker on my blue shirt. Clara's was the twenty-third ballot recorded at our polling place, and mine was the twenty-sixth.
Griff has photographs from the opening of the polls in Northfield posted here.
My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .
The frontispiece from Countee Cullen's The Black Christ and Other Poems (1929). Illustration by Charles Cullen. Click to enlarge. On...
Here's the poem I wrote and read for the student-organized International Day of Peace gathering in Bridge Square on Wednesday, Septembe...
Two of my very brief essays were published online this summer. The first was the essay " Telephone ," which appeared in June in t...