Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thoughts on Voting

Today as I waited in line to cast my votes for many, many things, I was struck by beauty of this privilege and of the community which I call home.

Today, I waited in line for about 40 minutes to cast my vote. During that time I saw a local school bring their 3rd graders in to sit and learn and observe the voting process. I listened to the business-type people in front of me complain about having to wait in a line to vote. I listened to the two women behind me (who I assume were mere acquaintances) talk about church and food and mutual connections. I watched as a first time voter proclaimed loudly that he had voted. I saw neighbors and church folk.

I was struck, for probably the first time, how remarkable that we in the United States have this privilege to elect our leaders. Black, white, mixed. Young, old, middle-aged. Rich, poor, middle class. We are all invited to take part in the democratic process. In that church basement, I was filled with pride that I live in a place with such freedoms, especially since I often take these freedoms for granted.

Yes, I am as tired as ever of the robo-calls, glossy paperboard mailers, fear-filled television and radio ads. But what a remarkable privilege.

I am struck by it even more as I realize how less than a generation ago, many of the people I share a precinct with wouldn't have been able to vote. Women haven't even had the right to vote for an entire century yet. People fought, went to jail, were fined, endured insults and harassment and threats for this right.

Even right now, many countries and peoples do not have this right. They get no say in how they are governed, how taxes are taken from them, or how they are represented. They fear threats, intimidation, or worse if they don't take the forced party line.

Even though I am eager for this to be done, for us to have conversations instead of sound-bites, to be able to work instead of campaign, I appreciate this opportunity to be grateful for the privilege that we all have, as American citizens.

I guess all this is to say, I cast my votes. Did you?

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