Today is midterm election voting and the polls close in a few minutes. We elect a new governor, a few senators, and a bunch of local officials. I’m happy to see that so many of my friends are voting and I’m encouraged that so many are passionate about getting other friends to vote as well. Our system for democracy while broken and ruled by the more fortunate or more wealthy, is still filled with a lot more hope than other systems of democracy and government.
There is still hope that your small entry into the box or scantron machine is doing something. That that little black mark in the bubble says something about what you stand to gain or lose if it doesn’t exist.
I had a long ballot today, as I was voting in a new city with more infrastructure than living in a rural community. Normally, there is a long ballot for presidential elections and midterms are smaller – but that’s when I voted in a fire barn (about 20′ x 20′) and we waited outside because there was only room for about 10 voters inside. Today voting in a high school gym with 25 polling booths and 8 volunteers, I had a long ballot, a felt tip pen and a long walk in. I thought about how long it was and it bothered me. And then it bothered me that I was upset about how many bubbles I had to fill in.
Why is it so difficult to have gratitude for the ability to vote? Why have I become so cynical about going to the polling location, in my car (that started up right away), walking inside without being harassed or intimidated, and being able to exercise my right as an American Citizen (capitalized)? Why was I so interested in dwelling on the time it took out of my day, the long walk, the long ballot, and the long forms?
Staring at my facebook feed (of all places) I was reminded of the sacrifices that it took for my ability to vote and the current sacrifices that allow me to continue year after year to go and stand (sometimes in the cold) and wait to fill out those horrible little bubbles (why exactly can’t we vote on our phones yet?) and take time out of my “busy” life and vote.