We watched U.S. Sen. Barack Obama win the Democratic primary then go on to campaign for president of the United States. We also were spectators as John McCain, a war hero and senator known for being independent, took unprecedented gambles in an attempt to win the election.
There was a downside to the campaign. We grew weary of the mud slinging that took place in the campaigns both for state and for national office, including our two local residents running for the state Assembly.
Also we have heard many people say that they will never view their neighbors the same after seeing who and what they supported because of the signs in their yards. Our ballots may be secret but many of us are so proud of our candidates and our positions that we choose to go public with them.
The saddest campaign in the Danville area was that for and against Proposition 8. The forces behind the initiative worked to convince everyone that the constitution must be changed to prohibit same-sex marriages to protect the institution; opponents didn't buy the argument, believing marriage is for any two people who want to make a commitment to each other. This bitter campaign turned neighbors against each other as people on each side struggled to understand how those they'd viewed as friends could differ so greatly in their feelings on this subject.
Despite all the rancor of the campaigns, it has been an exciting time. Never have so many been captivated by the four candidates for the top offices in the country. Even on Election Day, supporters of candidates were out with their posters, perhaps hoping their enthusiasm would be contagious. And it was.