Hi Internet People!
Today was the first time I ever voted besides a high school election, and I graduated in 1991. Lazy, yes. Disinterested, totally. “Who cares?” Yup. Electoral College crap, I agree. I saw my lack of voting as a statement against things I did not like. I choose NOT to pick a lesser of two evils. I choose NOT to waste my time waiting in line to place a vote for the President that is just for show (popular vote). Right, wrong or just plain ignorant, that was my gig. However, this morning I woke up, and decided to try this voting thing out. I had my choice in mind, I knew where to go (thank you google maps) and figured it was time to cash in on a perfectly good excuse to arrive late for work. “I was like, voting.” I pulled up to the ‘Voting Hall of Freedom’, and got in line. It moved along, and engaged in small talk with people who are my neighbors I did not know. Saw a few familiar faces. Saved a spot in line for an elderly woman with crutches and a cast on one foot while she sat down. I watched a salty old veteran inch along with a painful grunt every time they leaned on his surgically replaced knee. The machine that scanned the ballots broke, the line stalled. People complained. I heard, “They should have TWO machines!” a hundred times. I kept calm, tried to make frustrated people smile, “Hey, I could be at work right now, anything beats that.” And I realized how important this voting thing is. To the veterans who fought, to the youth who read their ipads, to the suit on the blackberry, the mother tending to her baby in a stroller. All taking time to wait in this dreaded line of standing, and cast a vote. They did pass out dum-dum lollipops, I was lucky and got a blue one. The line grew, complaints echoed, my left butt cheek hurt. It was in a kindergarten. Small. Cramped. The line snaked around, over down and around, and only grew in size. It felt like the American Sampler Platter of People trying to get one last ride on Space Mountain before it closed for the day. Two hours in, and people were finally moving. The scanner scanned. I saw people with stickers on their chests. The man in front of me hugged the woman supervising the scanner after his ballots went through without a problem. I told her she was doing a great job, as she listened to the same barks over and over, and did her best to keep the show moving with a smile. The retired couple behind me mock cheered as I went 4-4 on the scanning of the 4 page ballot. But you could feel the pride. Plenty of complaints, but no quitters. You could feel the camaraderie, stranger neighbors talking to each other about what they were going to be late for. I proudly pasted on my sticker, my American Badge of Freedom. I gave a high five as I slithered through the crowd, ” Good luck!”, I said to a friend with about 100 people in front of him. And it was all worth it, the wait, the bitching, the voting, the cramp in my hand from holding this monster super-legal sized ballot for 2-1/2 hours. All worth it. So, the point of this ramble is, get out there and feel American. Get out and vote. It’s only once every four years, and enjoy the melting pot of voters and beliefs as you wait in line. Absorb the America. Time to get back to work.