Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Duty Done

I'm here, after a disjointed morning. We made the big mistake of trying to vote as soon as the polls opened, only to find a line of a couple hundred compatriots waiting to do the same thing. Steve had a plane to catch at 10 AM, so we were afraid if we stood in line he'd miss his flight. We took another trip to the polling place an hour later: same story. It got too late to wait around any longer, so I took Steve to the airport and went by the polling place once again on my way back. There was hardly anybody there! By 8:30 the early crowds had come and gone, and I breezed my way inside, only to wait about 20 minutes to exercise my franchise. I called Steve, by now waiting to board at the airport, just to gloat. He was p.o.'ed, of course. He had been looking forward to today as much as I had. This is the first vote he'll have missed, ever; he has a good excuse, so he can be forgiven. Next time, in Delaware.....

It's somewhat embarrassing to remember that I was 30 years old before I voted the first time, for Jimmy Carter in 1976. In my defense, my life had been pretty peripatetic until then; that was the first year I'd actually lived in one place long enough to know that if I registered to vote, I'd still be living there on voting day. I can also say that I haven't missed an election since, so I've made up for my previous lost chances. I remember the feeling I had after casting that first vote. It was a sunny, warm day for November in DC and I felt very happy and proud to be strolling along the bright streets of the Nation's Capital, showing off my "I voted!" sticker. No matter how many times I've done it since, I still feel the same way. I'm not usually much of a flag waver, but the vote is the most basic duty and privilege we have as citizens of the United States. The simple act of doing it makes all the lessons we learned in civics class resonate deeply in me, and I'm grateful I still feel that way.

5 comments:

Jeff said...

Our polling place was a bit on the empty side when I arrived around 9 AM - what a wonderful feeling to pull that lever! :)
My first presidential vote was also for Carter - I was 25 at the time even though the voting age was lowered to 18 a few years prior.
Now on to Starbucks for my free drip coffee and then Ben and Jerry's for my free scoop! :)

Ralph said...

TV tonight will be interesting and, I hope, happy, Jeff.

Mim said...

Ralph,
When it rains it pours.. you are right.
You've been living in Steve's job uncertainty and as of yesterday we entered it.
Not fun, unplanned for, very unexpected.
A very hopeless feeling isn't it?!
And if we lose our beloved pet and our source of income in the same wk...well... let's just say
it's a hard week right now.
Thanks for your kindness..it means a lot. We feel overwhelmed.
Mim

Ralph said...

I wish there was something more I could do, Mim. Feel free to email if you ever just want to vent.

Mim said...

Oh you said it so well.. pride and our votes counted.. and finally for my man.
Not a flag waver either, but did volunteer hours this time and it felt so good.
THanks for your kindness:
just picked Bailey up at emergency overnight vet, and he is back to his regular vet for IV's all day.
No resolution or plan.. still treating symptoms.
Pet's pull us in, don't they?
And the work suspense is tremendous, so my husband stayed home from work today to help the carpenter on our roof and work off stress!!
Mim