Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day!

I'm a sucker for Election Day.
I just love it.
It's about the only thing I love that is inefficient, mired in last century technology, staffed by senior citizens and that I have to wait in line for but love it I do.

When I lived in Oregon we voted by mail. Several of my clients live in Oregon now, and for them, election day is kind of passe. Returns tonight will be fun, but the day itself is almost like any other.

I liked voting by mail. It was efficient and easy.
I really like voting the old fashioned way here in New York.
I like standing in line with young moms pushing strollers stocked with toddlers; immigrant hipsters texting and tweeting while we wait; seniors with canes who've carefully navigated the stairs and the slippery gym floor to be here. We are bound by a zip code and a polling place, not much else. I'm not a Democrat in a precinct that will vote Democratic 9:1. I don't speak Spanish in a precinct that mostly does. I may text and tweet, but the only hipster part of me is what I sit on.

And yet, here we all are. We all get to vote. Due in no small part to people like John McCain, veterans of the Armed Forces who served when called. Due in no small part to people like Barack Obama who organized communities to register to vote. Due in no small part to men and women who believed, against all obvious evidence, that people have the inalienable right to govern themselves. Even if we choose poorly. Even if we choose blindly. Even if we don't choose, we choose.

I love to vote.
I hope you do too.

31 comments:

Julie Weathers said...

All, right, you have made me feel properly guilty. I didn't get home from work until 3:30 this morning. By the time I got to bed it was 4:30 and had to be up at 7:30 to get ready for a dentist appointment.

I was just nodding off in my chair and had convinced myself I need the sleep worse than I need to cast a vote that will most likely make no difference.

So, I will go stand in line and hope to stay awake at work tonight.

Heidi said...

me too! me too! I love the old fashioned way, with the blue haired ladies and the stickers and the curtains that make it all feel so secretive!

Thank you for a beautiful post. We are truly privileged.

Pamela Hammonds said...

I voted too. And talked to my mother yesterday who told me her grey-haired neighbor confessed she had never voted. Ever. I was appalled. To me not voting is an affront to those who came before us who fought to give us the right to do so. How could we ignore such a privilege?

Kerry said...

I got a little weepy as I was at the polls, showing my four year old how the voting machine worked. Who knew, right?

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

I get teary whenever I surf the HuffPo and look at photos of voting booths all over the nation. TODAY IS A HISTORIC DAY FOR AMERICANS!!!!

Margaret Yang said...

I loved the long line, it meant more people were voting. I loved bringing along my senior citizen mom-in-law and my niece who is 18 and voting for the first time. I loved seeing all the people--white, black, Asian, Middle-Eastern, and knowing that they were all my neighbors. I loved the free doughnuts that campaign volunteers were giving out exactly 1000 feet away from the polling place.

Precie said...

YES YES YES!

So exciting! So inspiring! I love voting!

Patrick Lee said...

Love these ballot proposals in Michigan. How often do you get to vote in favor of both embryonic stem cell research and legalization of marijuana (medical)? Good times! On top of that it's a beautiful day.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Janet writes... "I may text and tweet, but the only hipster part of me is what I sit on."

You SIT on your cell phone? (Does it vibra... oh, never mind)!

Haste yee back ;-)

Dal said...

Yeah, what she said.

AC said...

My lovely state also only allows voting on actual voting day (except for absentee) and I just got done standing in line. Can I just say, I've never seen so many old people in one place before? There were literally way more old people than I ever remember at any other election...

But I get overly excited about voting, too. I have to suppress a silly smile when I present my ID to the poll worker and she uses a highlighter to cross my name off the voting list.

I don't care what anyone says; it's an exciting time to be an American.

nomadshan said...

Yes! While I'd love for everyone to vote for my candidate, it's enough that everyone gets involved. And while not everyone's involved, I'm hearing that very high percentages of registered voters are coming out for this election.

Happy day. :)

james said...

My wife and I took our kids with us to the polls right before school. Tonight we'll watch the returns.

I cast my vote for the person I feel is best suited for the job. My hope is that it's my country that has won.

Travis Erwin said...

Very nice non politically slanted post about the electorial process.

Melinda Szymanik said...

Our national election is on November 8 here in New Zealand but I must confess I am more interested in the US election than I am in ours. Our two main parties have so much in common and the two main candidates indulge in so much mudslinging which I abhor, that its hard to choose between them. And I can't help thinking the result of your election will have more impact on my country then our election will. I'm glad then that so many people in the US are choosing to vote this time.

Melinda

Nerd Goddess said...

Thanks for the encouragement to vote without the unnecessary "my candidate" underneath.

This is my first election to vote, and I'm excited! Happy voting day to all.

Jay said...

I vote because I can. I waited until after the masses voted before work. Short line in my neighborhood.

For all the flaws in the process, I'm glad I live in a country where I can vote, rather than be at the mercy of whomever overthrows the previous ruler.

pseudosu said...

My polling place was entirely populated by senior citizens when I voted at 9:30 a.m. I returned home to find a smudge of black soot on my face from work and my fly open, (leopard undies today--yay).

Hey-- I showed up, I voted, and maybe gave the townsfolk something to talk about during the mid-day lull.
:0

Just_Me said...

I love voting by absentee ballot. I've only ever voted by mail. But I like being able to sit at my computer, ballot at my side, and checking all the facts for all the names on the list.

Obama and McCain were not the only people running for president. CNN didn't seem to notice, and they aren't likely to win, but they are there and deserve some checking up on.

I voted in the Florida elections (yes, go ahead and laugh) and we had all sorts of fun things on the ballot, from the president, to congress, to support for colleges, to marriage laws and inheritance taxes.

I may not get my first pick for President, but I can make a difference in things like how much the schools at home get from taxes, and that's important too.

spyscribbler said...

I've been breaking into tears all day. I'm a nervous, thrilled, excited, and afraid. And hopeful.

My refresh button is wearing out, though. I've been reading news sites all day!

M Clement Hall said...

I no longer live in the U.S. but like most Canadians follow with great interest the affairs south of our border. I write to express concern about what I see as an incredibly clumsy voting system, equivalent in many ways to less developed countries. Voting should not be a marathon physical effort requiring hours of time and the physical ability to stand for prolonged periods. It should be possible to walk in to the polling center, identify oneself and cast a vote, all within five minutes -- in Canada it is. The requirement is more neighbourhood polling stations -- not beyond the capabilities of the richest and most tecnologically advanced country in the world, surely?

The Unbreakable Child said...

There was not much of a line at my precinct, but, but, but, I was the small percent of 'undecideds,' so it took me 15 agonizing minutes to fill in the oval circle. Just ready to move forward and hope all can be gracious with the choices made tonight!

Joe Iriarte said...

Fantastic post. Beautiful.

And good on you, julie weathers.

acpaul said...

Lovely post. Working the night shift, the polls aren't open at hours that are at all conducive to my voting. So I do the mail-in ballot ahead of time.
But I do wish I could just go and vote the old fashioned way from time to time.

clindsay said...

I also enjoy the standing in line and waiting...

...but this year I voted absentee, because I knew I'd be flying on Election Day. It didn't feel the same!

Eileen said...

Since I live in Canada I sent in my absentee ballot a few weeks ago. I watched the returns tonight and am so excited and humbled by the challenges in front of us. I am so excited to hear about the high voter turnout.

Daisy said...

I have to vote absentee, thanks to gerrymandering i my state, and I definitely miss the experience of actually walking in and going through the process. Sigh.

(Also, in keeping with the theme of non-partisanship here, I would heartily recommend this article by Dave Barry from the Miami Herald:http://www.miamiherald.com/living/columnists/dave-barry/story/756596.html )

Kelley said...

I, too, just love it.It's so exciting. Maybe it's because of where we live, small town NH. But our politicians always show up. (And nothing beats getting to tell them face to face what exactly you think of them or their policies.) We see friends, family. It's well worth any wait.

We took our two boys, all four of us crammed together into two booths. Then the kids got to register and vote themselves as part of the Kids Vote project. My 10 yr old hugged me after and said he was so happy because he'd made history. So, yeah. I love it.

Margaret Yang said...

@Daisy, thank you for the link to Dave Barry. Klingon invasion--tee hee!

Southern Writer said...

One of the things i don't understand about today's world is why it's acceptable to openly discuss sex (and the younger generation thinks it's fine to videotape themselves in the act for all their friends -- and often strangers -- to watch), but openly discussing the merits and policies of the individuals who may become our next world leader is so taboo.

Daisy said...

Taboo? Where the heck have you been for the last eight months? I'm just glad to find one little corner of the internet that isn't embroiled in presidential politics.

(And, for the record, I'd rather not hear the details of people's sex lives either, but it's Janet's blog so that's her call.)