My family voted this morning. All of us, me, my wife, Rochelle, and our daughters, Malia and Katharine all went to our local polling place to cast ballots. Though it is still “early voting,” the lines have been wrapped around corners and boasting hour long waits. Nevertheless, we took the chance today, betting that the lines next Tuesday will be even longer. Fortunately, the line was short–about 10 minutes total.
As we waited in line, I was reminded how special and important it is to vote. Voting is nearly sacred. It is a trust. And no matter who we’re voting for or what party or person’s views align most with ours, the ability to choose your leaders, to say, “this is the direction I prefer for my country,” is simply beautiful. It was beautiful because of the great caste of characters we were standing with. Our family stood in line with an elderly African-American woman, a veteran wearing a vest littered with patches designating where and when he served. There was a young white man there who drove a pick-up truck and wore his hair short enough that it almost looked military. The woman in front of us was not all that familiar with voting, so she meticulously read the directions before going into the both. An elderly man stood behind us and asked Malia her name and who she was voting for. There was a young black man wearing coveralls and work books standing next to a suited businessman scrolling through his Blackberry. This wasn’t Americans in line; it was America in line.
And we were all there to vote!
And we knew that many of us were voting for different people, different parties.
But had you come to our polling center from another planet, you wouldn’t have known that the election we were participating in had seen people called socialist, terrorist, old-man, Carribou Barbie, or a host of other unhelpful slurs. You would not have known how ugly our national leaders — and sometimes our closest friends — had become. Rather, you would have thought something like this: “Those people are all doing something important together.”
In line we talked. We laughed. The weather was cold so we blocked one another from the wind. Men who learned of WWII through the movie theatre newsreels joked with little girls who get the news from the Internet. And it was all very,…well, American. Part of me thinks I should have waited until next Tuesday, just so I could have been in line a little longer.
So I have a simple message: Go Vote! You will find that we do indeed have more in common than our politics suggest.