Wednesday, November 05, 2008


My nation 'tis of thee...

We the people, the United States of America, have elected our first African-American president and made history. We have also in that same moment elected our first mixed race president and acknowledged the future of our demographics and proved that in the much hyped “melting pot” any child really can grow up to be president.

The people have spoken and been heard. The election was not yet again stolen. My own faith in this system I love so much has been restored. For the first time in too many years I am relieved and elated to know that the great American experiment has not failed. I love my country and as a true and unapologetic patriot recognize it to be not a nation defined by or arisen from land and blood ties and lock-step religious uniformity but ideals. Grand beautiful transcendent and enlightened ideals. Our light, the light, the shining beacon for all the world to look toward for hope, guidance and inspiration is relit. Let us now as Americans, generational and newly arrived, foster and nurture that light as it leads us, its caretakers, out of the darkness as we return it and ourselves the place we both belong, reaching out to those in the broader world and within our own midst who pine for liberty and struggle toward freedom. Last night my nation and her future were returned to me and my fellow citizens, and I have never loved her more nor held greater hope for what great things she shall accomplish.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Tuesday Morning

Despite getting to bed late last night I was up and out of the house early this morning. The weather was surprisingly mild and the walk to the library to vote was a pleasant one. Arriving about 45 minutes after the polls opened there was already a line just outside the door, but that bit went quickly as poll workers asked people's addresses and directed them to the particular lines in which they needed to be. I took the time waiting in line to review the state provided copies of our three ballot questions. This turned out to be good planning as once I got my ballot it was the simple stuff that confused me. Little sleep and one wee cup of coffee in transit to my destination had not properly prepared my brain for anything the vaguest bit complicated. You see, I couldn’t find the presidential section. Scanning the top left corner where it should have been I found names I had never heard. Confusion increased as I scanned around the general area for an explanation and found text in Spanish. Once my eyes finally and quite accidentally landed on a name and office I recognized a had a place from which to get my bearings and slowly I took in the dizzying text packed display of black and white that shimmied giddily under the fluorescent lights. So I voted for a Senator, a Congressional Representative, some other offices and then still confused as to where they had hidden the big race I reexamined the only unmarked quadrant of the page not reserved for the ballot questions which claimed the bottom-most front and entire back of the vexing sheet of cardstock. Did you know that in Massachusetts there are six tickets on the ballot? They are listed under the heading “ELECTORS OF PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT – STATEWIDE” and they are listed in the following order:
BALDWIN and CASTLE, Constitution
BARR and ROOT, Libertarian
McCAIN and PALIN, Republican
McKINNEY and CLEMENTE, Green-Rainbow
NADER and GONZALEZ, Independent
OBAMA and BIDEN, Democratic

So now you may see why my foggy not-anything-like-a-morning-person brain was thrown off kilter. Beyond the biggies and the now ubiquitous Mr. Nader I have no idea who these people are and I didn’t immediately see any of the names I did know on this crowded list rendered in nine point type for the sake of fitting everything on one two-sided page. The line was growing behind me, it was crowded and far too early, and panic was setting in. At last through some sort of buried sense I can only imagine is an evolutionary left-over from when humans once found it necessary to dowse for bile my twitching eye landed on the name Palin. “That’s who I don’t want,” I internally exclaimed and then found Obama. The ellipse was clumsily filled in with the squishy-tipped pen provided and after a quick dash through the ballot question (remember I studied in line for this part) I was off to hand in my ballot.

At this point I realized that I should have relaxed. It was not me who was fostering delay but the ballot scanning machine. Luckily it would seem that I had a steadier hand or a less squishy pen than the people in front of me because while the temperamental machine accepted my ballot on the second try it kept spitting back others. The gist gleaned from the heavily accented gentleman manning the machine was that it gets terribly fussy if one colors too far outside the lines. I saw three people have to return to their little semi-private niches with a fresh ballot as the completed yet untidy one was discarded. If only I had known that it was quite literally the machinery of bureaucracy that was delaying this process and not fuzzy-brained caffeine-deprived folks like me. Perhaps with the pressure off I could have more readily decoded the inscrutable document and therefore taken even less time to take advantage of my franchise. Either way, mission accomplished. Next it was out into the still lovely morning to be stood up by an over-full bus. Flush with the hope I have been trying not feel for months for fear believing again in the possibility a presidential election could go the right way was like believing my abuser had really changed this time I set out on foot for the subway. What the heck? The day was warm, the sun bright, the sky clear blue and every tree a riot of Van Goh dealt chromatic celebration. The world was beautiful and for the first time in a long time it was possible that the future might be too.


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