Letters From Listeners: Remembering Past Elections

This week's historic elections brought us lots of comments from listeners about the election and our coverage of it. Some people liked our remote in Ladera Heights much more than others.

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

This has been a week that memories are made of and a week when many of you wrote us about the election and our coverage of it. Senior producer Steve Proffitt joins us to help share some of those comments. Steve?

STEVE PROFFITT: Alex, early this week, we heard from some high-school students who were very interested in the election and a little frustrated that they couldn't vote. So, we asked listeners to send us their memories of elections of their youth, and we got a lot of them - they're on our blog, Daydreaming - including this one from Louis Haga. He's from Portland, Oregon, but back in 1946, he was 13 and living in Minnesota when a very young mayor from Minneapolis visited his town.

Mr. LOUIS HAGA (Listener): A friend of mine and I covered the event with our Kodak Brownie cameras. For our efforts, the mayor of Minneapolis bought us each an ice cream cone.

PROFFITT: And that mayor was Hubert Humphrey. Hubert Humphrey, he, of course, went on to become a senator, vice president and presidential candidate.

CHADWICK: OK, another listener, Marie King, is a history teacher in Binghamton, New York. She says from the time she was a baby in arms, her parents took her with them to the voting booth.

Ms MARIE KING (Listener): The presidential election I can vote in was in 1968 election, and I voted for a different party candidate than my parents would have voted for. They taught me to be a responsible citizen. They always encouraged me to make up my mind about people.

CHADWICK: That's history teacher Marie King.

PROFFITT: Now, Alex, on Wednesday, the morning after the election, we went out to a coffee shop not far from here in an L.A. neighborhood called Ladera Heights.

CHADWICK: Right. It's primarily an African-American neighborhood. The Starbucks we visited is a particularly vibrant place. It has a big outdoor area. There is always something going on, people sitting and talking.

PROFFITT: And we thought that would be a good place to hear from black Americans on the morning after Barack Obama was elected president.

CHADWICK: But some of our listeners didn't agree.

Ms. SUSAN BENTLEY (Listener): Hi, this is Susan Bentley (ph) from Everett, Washington. By focusing seemingly exclusively on the black community's response to a, quote, "black president-elect," you have successfully cheapened all of the efforts of the volunteers and American voters who participated in this election. Mr. Obama was not elected because or in spite of being mixed race. He offered a choice that appealed to voters and had a very effective campaign team. Your program today was more disappointing than I can adequately express.

Mr. TOM WORD (Listener): This is Tom Word (ph) from Hutchinson, Minnesota. You made it sound like the only aspect of what has happened is racial, even when some of your interviewees at Starbucks tried to turn you away from that. What about us 65-year-old white guys? Are we just voting for the black guy or maybe it was something else? There were a lot of other places in L.A. to interview people, thank you.

PROFFITT: Well, Alex, they were some listeners who did appreciate our visit, including Bill Johnson (ph) of Seattle.

Mr. BILL JOHNSON (Listener): It was very moving for me, a white American, to hear these reactions to Obama's presidency, especially emotional to hear the wonderment and amazement in their voice as they confessed how they never expected to see a black American president in their lifetime. Thank you so much for capturing their voices for your program.

PROFFITT: Thank you, Bill Johnson, and to everyone who wrote. If you have comment, visit our blog, Daydreaming.

CHADWICK: And boy, you can tell those comments are going to go on and on, on this subject. The address, npr.org/daydreaming.

PROFFITT: There's always something going on there, npr.org/daydreaming.

CHADWICK: Steve Proffitt as always, thank you.

PROFFITT: Alex, happy trails to you.

(Soundbite of music)

CHADWICK: NPR's Day to Day continues.

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