Musing on food and cooking ...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Today is Voting Day

Last week, I had been threatening not to vote today. I was just unenthused - about life, in general, and about politics, in specific. Honestly, it has been all I can do to get out of bed and coming to work has been incredibly painful. This morning, I woke up and was like, Oh just do it already! You've never not voted. Why break a streak now? Besides, if you don't figure out something that makes getting out of bed worthwhile, you are going to stay and snuggle with the cat too long and then you will be late for work, which will make you sad, and the cycle will continue on and on and you will never find the strength to put your laundry away or oil soap the floors or mail out those cookies, as you promised.

So I quick found my voter registration card and headed down to the local polling place to cast my vote before heading off to work.

What a major difference from voting in Lake Forest! First off, I got to vote in an elementary school rather than a church. The atmosphere was entirely different. I walked up to the door and instead of being greeted by a giant crucifix and a poster claiming that God was watching, I was greeted by a small African-American girl in pigtails who held the door for me and attempted to get me to buy a doughnut. They were doing a fundraiser so that they could renovate their playground. I didn't have enough cash for a doughnut, but I did put a quarter in the cup.

I then walked in the door of the gym and went to the election official and handed her my voter registration card, my license, and a current water bill - all things I had needed in Lake Forest and which were examined with a magnifying glass there. The election official is affronted. "Honey, we don't need those things! Just tell me your name." So I did, and I was in the book, and I signed the slip, and she confirmed that yup, I was indeed Heather Brown, and dear god, honey, where did you get such a signature. I took my ballot and off I went to the little cardboard booth. I filled in my ballot and plopped it in the machine, learned I was the 53rd person to vote today, got my little sticker and a pamphlet about pandemic flu, and headed out.

And what happened next is why it is so important to vote, and why polling places should be in spaces where children can observe.

As I walked out the door, all the little kids were in lines waiting to filter into the building. A little Latino boy sees me come out the door and called out, "Hey lady! Whatcha doing here?" I smiled and said, "I voted today." Upon which all the little kids burst into cheers and yells. I walked away to the sound of applause. And after what has been such a crappy couple of weeks, my heart was truly warmed.

I don't know if my votes today will truly make a difference in the world at large. But they certainly made a difference to some little kids, and, by the time they are old enough to vote, they will be able to bring about change so incredible I will have to stand up and cheer for them.


Little Merry Sunshine said...

GG, So true! So true! About kids watching the process. I remember being a kid and seeing the whole voting process happen. It was especially significant in my life because my very politically active cousins were always election judges at my school. I saw adults voting and could never imagine a world where I wouldn't vote. I think kids do catch things like voting through just seeing others do it. What's that old saying about actions speaking louder than words?

Anyway, I'm very sad to say that today, in my hometown, schools are closed on voting days. Supposedly, this is for security reasons (you can't control the freaks that come to vote), but I think it's a horribly missed opportunity for an all-day civics lesson. In fact, the lesson really could last all week - from the time the voting stuff was dropped off to when it is picked up.

I'm sorry you woke up in a sad mood. I have to say, I woke up energized. For me, today is really the beginning of the end of our National Nightmare of the last 8 years. I know we won't have the Dem candidate decided, but we had our say today and we are now one step closer.

I'm glad you had a great voting experience and hope it carries over to your whole day.


Brave Sir Robin said...

I think each and every one of us should be applauded at least once or twice a month!!

That is so cool!!

teryn said...

This is SUCH a good story! It makes me feel warm and smooshy inside about having voted and about what's happening (for good!) with the teaching in that school. Yay!

Boxer rebel said...

First, I would have found the money for the doughnut even if i didn't eat it, kids playgrounds are the best kind of cause. Two, what a great civics lesson for all of these kids. Three, I am glad you voted that is awesome. Four, by the time I get to vote it wouldn't matter but I will vote anyway and I will be voting my conscience not who the media tells me to vote for.

TinaH said...

You Democracy Dork, you!


GourmetGoddess said...

Maybe we should start a rock band - the Democracy Dorks. I think we could sell it!