Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I went to vote at the High School this afternoon. It's hard to imagine, but that all-but-dead patriotism surged into my consciousness and I was moved. The voting booths, the wooden ballot boxes, the ballots themselves, all sent shivers through me. Looking at the names on the paper in front of me was overwhelming.......that it all came down to this. Months and months of speeches and ads and travels around the country until the campaign almost becomes a way of life, and then "we" get to decide. It really is an amazing process when you think of it. Suddenly it is real. Suddenly it is personal. It's me standing there with my no.2 pencil, it's me who helps to elect the "President of the United States."
Seeing those words, the choices, and knowing that whichever one I checked would be effected seemed almost too much responsibility. Nevertheless, I marked my X beside Barack Obama's name and came out smiling foolishly with pride. We have come to take for granted that we choose our leaders this way, yet a peaceful transfer of power is something not that usual in the world. In most governments the candidates who want the job do not try to woo those they wish to govern.
Well, all of this has caught me by surprise. I thought my cynicism went to the core of my being. But I've found a reason for today to be glad that I'm American. Stripping the whole system of its ideals and examining the reality of democracy can send one into a tailspin of despair, but I choose to let myself ignore all that for a day and love my country.
Is this sappy, or what???