Three days before the election, walking down State Street, the old-fashioned shopping area in my home town of Redlands*, California. This is a city that went for Barry Goldwater when I was a kid and that has been part of a solidly Republican Congressional district for most of the time since then. For the last 30 years it has supported Rep. Jerry Lewis, once the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and more recently under Federal investigation for doing favors for lobbyists. (His opponent this year is Tim Prince.)

In a State Street storefront that was some kind of variety discounter the last time I saw it, I now see... Obama headquarters! And it is packed. Old people. College students. Everybody on the phones. People walking in and out with material supporting Obama, Biden, and the rest of the Democrats. I cannot emphasize enough how unusual this is. California may be a blue state, but this part of it has not been.

Most of the yard signs around town seem to be McCain-Palin. But in other times, nearly all of the yard signs would have been Republican. A bustling, unembarrassed Democratic headquarters here takes me by surprise.

* Personal note: I spent practically no time in the United States during 2007 but have traveled repeatedly from Beijing to Redlands this year. This reason, as mentioned earlier, is the declining health of my father, which will keep me from from dealing with email or doing much more on this site for a while.