Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

I voted early this morning. There was a much longer line than usual at the polls, although Massachusetts is never a battleground state, so it was nothing that took hours. I was in and out in about a half hour.

I think of myself as a patriotic person... in the mold of the first patriots in this country, who believed that your highest responsibility is to challenge your government and fight to make it better. As a result, I am sometimes angered and frustrated by my government. But just as a mother who deals with her children's frustrating behavior is still bursting with pride and satisfaction at their successes, I am very, very proud of my country and our system of government when we come together to vote for our leaders.

Today was something beyond the pride that I usually feel, though. I've heard said (and said myself) that this is an historic election. Whether we elect an African-American president or a woman vice-president, it will be a first. Waiting in line to vote this morning, it really came fully clear to me what an amazing day this is.

I live in a very ethnically diverse area, and that's reflected at the polls. As I waited in line this morning, I saw many African-American faces. As I looked around and saw the pride on the faces of my friends and neighbors, I began to realize how truly important this election is. What happened next put a lump in my throat.

An older woman was waiting on line with her granddaughter and great-granddaughter, who was a toddler in a stroller. As we neared the door, there was a sign that said "vote here today". This woman pulled a camera out of her purse and encouraged her granddaughter to stand in front of the sign with the baby. And as she took the picture, the woman said, "Today is history, and I want her to always know and remember that she was here and a part of it."

I realize that we have a whole lot of problems with the economy and the war and more that need fixing. And I know that we have 200 years of ugly history around race that won't go away overnight. But, like that mom at the school play, I am so damn proud of where we are right now.

Happy Election Day

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