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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday

I voted today. Did you?

My dearest one says it so eloquently:

"Yes, I am political. My heart swells with pride when I go to vote. So maybe it's not surprising that this brought tears to my eyes. I rarely ever cry when I'm hurt or sad but I do it all the time when I am filled with hope, with inspiration and grace. There's something going on right now in this country, there is a wind of change, and for one of the first times in my political life I am full of hope and joy. That's the kind of feeling you want to pass along."

When I was very little, one year I asked my mother who she voted for. She said, "It's a private matter, who you vote for. I don't have to tell anyone." And she didn't.

I think you should be so strong in your conviction that the person you vote for is The One that you shout it from the tops of buildings, but I've always remembered what she said, and that turned voting into a special thing for me. It makes me appreciate a democracy where I'm not beholden to anyone, and my vote is my own action.

Now I think my mother was close-mouthed about it because we lived in a conservative, wholly Republican area. Maybe she was worried I'd blab to my classmates that she voted for a Democrat? A few years ago, we were talking about the ways that Kansas has changed my parents, made them more conservative in some ways. I think my dad was talking about his job and social services, but my mom pounded the table and said, "I am never going to vote Republican!" I was so proud!

The first time I voted, I was 19 (I think). I just missed Clinton's first term, but I got to vote for his second term. And I'm sure I voted for him. My family (at least on my mom's side--not sure about my dad's) has a long Democratic history that I'm proud of. I'm sorry I don't remember it--did I vote in the town where I went to college, or in my hometown? I don't know.

And since then, I've voted in every election, though the one I will remember most was in Alabama.

Tim and I may have gone about things in the wrong way, transferring our residency to Alabama instead of keeping it in Chicago for those two years. Because of that, we had to pay out-of-state tuition for my first semester at school. But that debt aside, I wouldn't change what we did for anything. Within a month of living there, we had the car tags and license changed, and with that, registered to vote. We were there for the second Bush election, but more importantly, the local election as well. There is no better way to feel like a part of the community than to vote for your representatives, I think.

One evening at the theatre, I mingled with the young professionals of Montgomery at a martini night. A young African-American woman came up to me and introduced herself. "I'm running for circuit judge," she said, and at that moment, I couldn't have cared less what she stood for. I was just thrilled to see a woman who seemed to be my age, striving for judge-hood. I wrote down her name, and included it on my cheat sheet that I took to the polls voting day.

Voting day, I left work early, but it seemed like everyone else did, too. I left my apartment and walked through the park to the Modern Art Museum that sat in the middle of it. This museum was the most beautiful building in Montgomery, if you asked me. The outside was ringed with Greek columns, and the foyer was a two-story high atrium. It was gorgeous and stately.

I got in line behind, I swear, about three hundred people. The line wended its way throughout the museum, and people were able to pass the long wait by looking at the art. I remember the last stretch before the auditorium was the high school hallway, where the more talented students from area high schools were able to display their work. Finally, I reached the auditorium, and walked up to the stage. It was a punch ballot, and I was worried that I'd accidently punch the wrong name, or I wouldn't punch it correctly, and it would be a hanging chad fiasco. I so desperately wanted my minority Dem vote to count.

As it turned out, Montgomery, both the city and county, surprisingly went Democratic (despite the ubiquitous "W - The President" bumper stickers on all the cars), but I was still so proud to have been a part of it all.

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Blogger Lesley said...

I voted! Chris sees no point in voting and isn't even registered --but I feel obligated, especially now. I feel good about voting, but it is such a nerve wracking process for me for some reason.

My mom told me the same thing about voting when I was young. And she never told me.

6:07 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Adults in my life who wouldn't tell me who they voted for were obviously Reagan voters. Growing up near the U of M campus, being a dem was a given.

I can't help but think that people who say "my vote won't make a difference" or "I don't care enough to vote" are partially to blame for eight years of Bush.

6:51 PM  

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