Tuesday, November 2, 2010
God Bless America
I stood in line to vote today.
The predicitons were for high voter turn out based on the number of absentee ballots disbursed.
I have, on rare occasions, cast my ballot this way. For the first W presidency I was out of the country and anxiously awaited news of the outcome. Mostly what we all heard about was the Florida chads and Al's declarations.
My preference is to go in person. To be a physical part of the process. When Mermaid was younger I would take her with me and stress the value, obligation and importance of every vote.
I still believe in this.
I found the mix of folks working the precinct and waiting in line interesting .
I was especially drawn to an elderly woman, beautifully dressed, beautifully groomed and heavily dependent on a walker to earn each hard won step forward. She was accompanied by a grandson, maybe 14 or 15, who was clearly concerned for her. At one wobbly move forward, where the entire population in the room feared she might pitch face first onto the floor, hands came from every direction in immediate assistance . All were offered with a nod and a smile with no mention of need, or risk. I loved that moment. To me it was a shining example of "united" people. Very Musketeer, one for all and all for one.
Directly in front of me was a woman, slender, fit, forty-ish, wearing jeans a hand knitted sweater, a pony tail and no makeup. She carried with her a sample ballot which she reviewed over and over again. I think her stumping point was not about a candidate but about one of the four ammendments. There were poster size copies of these ammendments along with explanations taped to the walls around the room. She kept reading them. I thought this a good thing as to ammend a state's constitution is no lite matter. One of the ammendments is to prevent the feds or entities like the UN from ever having the ability to prevent the citizens of this state to hunt or fish. Another says ballots to unionize may not be secret. The others were about reserve funds, how much and how can they be used by the state. All important to get "right".
A bit forward of me in the line was an elderly black couple. That isn't remarkable in and of itself but was noteworthy because they were the only ones. Last election , my predominantly white middle class precinct, had a full representation of black, hispanic, and asian voters. Today, not so much. That set me to wondering if this one small precinct was an indication of loss of faith by minorities? I guess tomorrow we will know.
I spent my day in two cities, receiving nods or thumbs up from strangers who spotted my
" I Voted!" sticker. I am sure there is a keen sense of awareness in all of us about the importance of this day. Whatever the outcome, America is facing grinding years of hard, hard choices and tough corrections. I just kept thinking today it won't be quite so hard if we find we are not as polarized as the media tells us we are. If in our core we are a nation of peoples who would not let the grandmother fall, no matter her voting intentions.
Tonight, I will watch some of the returns but not all.
Tonight I will not go to the pub to stand with others to learn the outcomes of local elections.
Tonight, I will get into my cozy clothes, make a fine cup of tea and escape into a movie, or a book or blog .
Because tomorrow I might need all my energy to scream.