Barack Obama wins -- and So Does South Florida

It's a victory just to have an election pass without a local embarrassment

Not that that polling center was without some contention: specifically, two guys standing on the corner of 75th with a "Communists for Obama" sign. "McCain's going to take Florida," declared Jordan Katz. "Obama supporters are very vocal, but there's a silent majority that's going to swing this the other way, and there's going to be a lot of surprised people across the country."

Meanwhile, a man waved an Obama sign across the street, and whenever cars streamed by, the two minicamps would try to outscream each other. "This guy's stupid enough to think I'm on his side," said Dave Crystal, referring to his "Communists" sign. "He doesn't realize that my sign is facetious. A lot of these Obama idiots are like that."

For his part, Obama supporter Terry Carpenter rose above the back-and-forth. "I'm not yelling at them," he said. "I'm just yelling."

They drove until Barack won.
Jamie Laughlin
They drove until Barack won.
A protesters outside the Target at U.S. 1 and Oakland Park Boulevard.
Jamie Laughlin
A protesters outside the Target at U.S. 1 and Oakland Park Boulevard.

Carpenter had never been so passionate about an election before, he said, but this year, something changed: "I'm over it, is all. I'm over the war and the recession and George Bush and discrimination against gays. I'm over all of it."

-- Gus Garcia-Roberts

Things Are Better in Greenacres

“This is the way it’s supposed to go.”

It’s the recurring refrain from voters leaving Diamond View Elementary on November 4. Except for a brief flurry at 7 a.m., there is no waiting in line at this Greenacres polling station – the pace of Election Day is eerily sedate. Poll workers set up markers to keep campaigners 100 feet from the doors, but not a single sign-toting McCainite or Obamafan shows up, not a single exit-poll taker, not a news reporter, not an ACLU lawyer. No fights break out – and the school’s pretty principal wouldn’t brook that kind of nonsense anyway: She stands at the door calling “Hurry up, my friend!” to the last, late straggling 6-year-olds in their pleated skirts and pink backpacks.

Voters park their cars and stroll freely to the polls set up in the school library among the biographies of Abraham Lincoln, The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, and the Easy Reader primers. Greenacres residents mosey through a lobby floored with a checkerboard of primary colors, past “Responsibility Street” and “Champs Boulevard, ” past a framed photo of Dr. Maya Angelou and under a banner proclaiming “We’re a Grade A School!” If they arrive around 2 p.m., they have to step around seated, cross-legged tykes waiting to be released to the yellow school buses parked around the corner.

Diamond View is clearly doing its damnedest to produce good citizens, the kind of people who “Walk, don’t run!” If all goes according to plan, they’ll grow up to vote in every election. You get the feeling that there’s an invisible force-field around this schoolyard keeping chaos at bay. Fractious lines may be snaking for blocks in Georgia, New Jersey, or Chicago, but the sun is shining in Greenacres, the teachers are smiling, and the kids are learning cooperation. “How long a wait is it?” almost every voter asks at the door. And they all exit with the same bemused look: “Well, that was easy! If I knew it’d be like that, I’d vote more often.”

-- Gail Shepherd

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