I just voted. And it felt great.
I was so looking forward all day to the experience, to the ritual of taking the walk over to the polling place, to the little chik-chung of pushing the poker into the ballot, to the smug walk home. I remember this little march fondly from the days when I used to do it hand in hand with my folks (very fine and interested role models for astute political opinion and, in my mom's case, involvement).
In fifth grade, I remember being traumatized by a Newsweek article (I was always, always news obsessed) in which were portrayed graphic crime-scene photos of a slaughter of voters in a Haitian polling place, and even then I remember feeling assured that America was not the kind of place where that sort of terrible thing could happen. I folded the paper in sixteenths and stapled it to itself a million times so I would never be templed to look at it again. (Why I didn't just throw it out is another story; I must have known I couldn't make it go away regardless.)
Back to Super Tuesday, 2008. I had signed up to vote by mail, but had been undecided while the postmark deadline came and went. So when I got to the polling place, I had asked a little bit meekly if it would be OK to vote in person instead. The poll workers asked if I had my physical ballot with me and I did not (left it at work), but they let me vote anyway—because this is America! And here you always get to vote! I had to do it provisionally under the circumstances, but a vote is a vote, and mine will be counted.
Maybe I get so excited about this because we are not Mayflower-type people; I come from immigrants, who spent their entire lives in pursuit of a path that would allow their grandchildren to have nice things, and to vote. And because it's a thrilling election year. And also because it occurs to me especially when I vote that being a U.S. citizen is a privilege and a blessing, like having your health and having friends.
So, like most people I know, regardless of what Democrat they voted for (what, like I know any Republicans?), I will be wearing my "I Voted" sticker tonight in fully dorky American pride. You just can't beat it. You can't.