Tuesday, November 07, 2006

election day

I was the 106th voter at my precinct this morning. I waited about 45 seconds to get access to one of four booths where voters mark their ballot.

It is drizzling today, most of the leaves have fallen, and the ground is matted with the organic matter that has gathered in waves across lawns, draping shrubs and covering flower beds.

When I was a child, my mother and father voted in the Kendrick Elementary School cafeterium (lunchroom) in South Waco. The ballots were paper, and quite large. There were no booths or isolated places to mark ballots. Voters went to the low lunchroom tables, and sat and voted in full view of their neighbors. I usually went with them when they voted in the afternoon. A woman who moved to Waco from Ohio once told me how uncomfortable it made her feel to vote without a booth on ballots as big as a paper table cloth.

My precinct polling place is located in a room in a municipal golf course clubhouse, a short drive from the townlet.

This is democracy's day, I usually say to myself, on election day. The time when fellow citizens go to the polls and determine who will represent them in government. That is a romantic view, I suppose, but one I've held for most of my adult life.

I don't feel that today. We know how much we are divided in this country, we understand the issues that split us apart. But we have little interest or passion in confronting the real problems of this country, not the emotional causes of the cultural wars, but the basic problems of education, and economic health, security and above all, hope for the future.

The war in Iraq has little to do with how liberal or conservative one is. We have no clue what we are doing there, and no plan for how to proceed now that we are there.

Gay Americans and their families continue to be vulnerable, and in this election there are again efforts across America once more to squeeze out political gain at our expense.

Today feels instead like the temporary end of the nasty, uninformative, distorted television ads, full of fake outrage and one-upmanship on who can make the most outrageous accusations, all activity designed to make us feel so repugnant about the process that we will say to hell with it and stay at home.

I voted. It took only a moment. I usally try to thank my fellow citizens who work at the polling place. I did again on my way out the door.

1 comment:

Eve said...

It's a bright morning today as democracy shines on us -- how great to know that so many people turned out yesterday to vote?! I'm psyched! I think I'll wear blue this week :) -- Eve