There is always that question, especially in a non Presidential year, whether to take that fifteen minutes, perhaps half an hour, to perform ones civic duty and venture out to vote.
I’ve heard all the reasons and excuses why it doesn’t matter, and perhaps thought that some might have a bit of validity to them. You’ve heard and said them as well.
“They’re all crooks, My vote doesn’t make a difference, The guy I want is going to get in whether I vote or not, The guy I want will never get in, What does it matter, nothing changes.”
Many of these things run through my mind, and a few others, Its cold, its raining, its sunny, I’ll have to get dressed, I will have to put my make-up on if I go and vote. It all boils down to I’d rather sit on my lazy butt than strike a chord for Democracy.
Ok, I could get preachy here and tell you all the reasons why it is important, and its the right thing to do. I could tell you that men and women have died, and others continue to put their lives on the line in order to protect our right to express our collective voices in the form of voting for our representatives. But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you about my voting experience today.
After all my mental procrastination, I dropped the rake, went inside to apply some light, day time appropriate, make-up, grabbed Jim and headed for the school where I have been casting my ballots for the last forty something years. It is a comfortable feeling to walk into the same building where your children attended school, beginning at five years of age, and all the way up to eleven. The halls sing with the memories of their voices, pig tails, gymnastics, plays, moving up ceremonies, awards, and of course Bongo.
Bongo was the dog who shared our lives for twelve years. He was a pup when the children were young. Many times I would get a call from the secretary at Canaan Elementary asking me to come get Bongo. He would escape from our back yard, tracked down the kids, and was creating havoc in the school. I think he was more blood hound than the Spaniel mix he had been purported to be. You have no idea how embarrassing it was to retrieve him from the principal’s office.
For many of the last November elections Jim and I weren’t in the country and we had voted by absentee ballot. This was the first time I was voting by the new method. No more of those big voting machines that you entered, closed the curtain, and clicked the levers. Now you vote by coloring in circles next to your choices, put it in a cardboard folder, walk over to a small machine that is supposed to suck out the ballot, and register your vote. Ok, sounds good, right?
A big part of voting in our democracy is that your choices are secret. No one knows who voted for who. In the age of modern technology that is no longer the case. For me, anyway.
The helpful older man who stands by the machine to help you vote, to make certain you are voting in the correct district, removes the cardboard folder from your hand, jams the machine causing my ballot to spit out, now without its jacket, and he gets to view exactly how I voted while I feed the now jacketless paper ballot back in, correctly. Good thing I don’t give a damn who knows how I vote. Aw, such an improvement over the old style inside the curtain voting machine!
Anyway to get back to the point of my story, as I was leaving the school I ran into a neighbor who I had not seen in years. We chatted for a few minutes before she exclaimed, “My God you look the same as you did in 1971. I can’t believe it.” (The reason you must put on your make-up before going to vote.) With all modesty, I told her she was nuts.
Naturally, when I left the school, I was walking on air. Now I remembered the reason why one should always take the time to go out to vote. I wonder what I will wear next year?
PS. My candidates were elected.