Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Patrotic Anectdote on Election Day

Yes, I voted--at 0630 this morning. For some reason, standing in line listening to the little mechanized devices running along inside the touch-screen ballot machines as they attemped to punch the voter's choices, my mind drifted into the nostalgic realm of history in the making.

The lines were so long in our little polling station (smack dab in the middle of a residential area--so we all live there and are coming there to vote--no businesses to offset the voter density of the area) because they only had 3 machines in the small schoolroom set up for Voting Day. They had to snake us around the room, like we were in some sort of Conga dance line. We all chatted and joked about this to pass the time and then it struck me. That WOW moment.

I was one of only two white people there to vote (the other was a man two or three ahead of me in line) and most of us were women. One hundred years ago, not only would most of us have not been legally allowed to be there at all, but we couldn't even have spoken to each other, despite being de facto neighbors. Women and blacks were not allowed to vote and certainly whites and blacks didn't "integrate" in public places like good buddies and pals. These were "illegal" and "immoral" ideas a hundred years ago.

I mean, in 1905 Saint Louis, Missouri, could you envision a white woman and black man having carried on a chatty, almost celebratory conversation in a public building without attracting some kind of ridicule, if not a call to the police?

A flush of patriotic pride washed over me.

Just look at how much has changed in a hundred years? Sure, there's a lot--a LOT--wrong with the country today, I'll be the first to admit it (and blog about it), but it sure felt amazingly good to be an American standing in that room this morning, with that particular mix of people, about to do that particular activity (Voting). Wow. Just wow.


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