Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I voted today

I voted today.

Our polling place was the local police station right across the street from our apartment complex. I walked there. Watching the news this morning while sipping my cup of coffee, it said that Illinois polls opened at 6 am. I ran to take care of that before work.

I wasn’t the first in line. Probably 20th or so. I still waited about 20 minutes to get my name accounted for and my ballot. They had only so many privacy slots available. Altogether it took me about half an hour.

While I was in line, I stood amazed for a moment as I realized the implications of what we were doing. We were voting.

I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with all sorts of different races, both genders, probably different religious backgrounds, landowners and non-landowners. We were citizens. In a country where too often we take this right to vote for granted, we were all proud to be there.
Sometimes I think we forget the hard-fought battle some have had, that women have only been voting for roughly 90 years, African-Americans since the 15th Amendment in 1870 (although I bet you could argue that even then this right wasn’t committed to for years), poll taxes finally abolished in 1964 with the 24th Amendment, 18-year-olds in 1971.

People have died for this right. It’s what made us become the United States of America—representation. Even this past year, in Zimbabwe for instance, there has been documented that opposing political parties have been taken at gunpoint and told to drop out of elections.

Whatever the outcome, we all voted. There will beno real coercion. There will be an easy exchange of power.

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