Tuesday, February 05, 2008

If I May Dork Out For a Moment

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.

2 comments:

Capella said...

I did not get to vote. I almost never get to vote, because I move a lot, and every state has different rules, all apparently designed to keep people who move a lot from voting. This time, I did not know you have to register not only at the DMV but with the precinct head for your party. By November, I will be in another state and I'm sure there will be another stupid rule.

mexi melt said...

the first unitarian pentecostal christian baptist church of chirst co-op has been my local polling place for the last few elections.
why they moved from the spacious auditorium of the continuation school next door tome and into this dank basement house of worship, i will never understand. probably something to do with wheelchair access, i'm sure.

let's not focus on trying to identify the dank smell. i mean it could be anything. i think it's a combo of sweat, jovan musk, hair weave anti-itch product, and whatever else the congregant's rayon suits absorb every sat-day and sunday (and wednesday nights for the weekend working folk) during services.

let's just thank god this was a short ballot!
thank the citizens for the fully stocks ballots at this precinct.
and most of all, thanks for the sticker! i'm keeping it until it looses it's stickiness. or at least until november.