Election Reflection

It’s November 4, 2008. I started writing this while sitting at Precinct 14 in Durham. East Durham to be more specific. And at Y.E. Smith Elementary School to be precise. I am sitting behind a small brown table serving as a voting booth for children. The table is placed in the foyer of the school, right at the entry way for the voting site. I’ve greeted each and every voter in my 10 hours at the school.

I expected to see more people here today. There has been a steady trickle of voters all day, but there has never been a line or a shortage of parking spaces. As I made my way to the school at 7:15am this morning, I was expecting to see a line down the street. Unfortunately there wasn’t. I was actually hoping for lines, random comradery, singing, laughing – a spectacle if you will. But there has been none of that. But even without the fanfare, I have still seen something today that’s just as spectacular.

I’ve heard at least eight or nine people say, “This is my first time to vote.” I’ve heard, “I’m here to vote for my boy!” (and in different instances, this definitely meant two different candidates). I’ve seen Obama shirts, McCain buttons, but unfortunately no Michael Munger paraphernalia. I’ve seen several people who are nervous, unsure and slightly intimidated as they walk in the door, yet they proceed into the voting area anyway ensuring their voice can be heard. I heard the poll volunteers clap when a first time voter walked out after submitting their ballot. I saw a seventeen year old boy vote at the kids voting booth while his mother took pictures with tears in her eyes. I’ve seen volunteers standing outside waiting for the folks they voluntarily drove to the polls. The mostly new voters come in pairs or on their own, all because someone said to them, “Your vote counts. I will take you to vote.”

I haven’t had an epiphany today – which truly I was hoping to do so. I spent ten hours chatting with friends, talking to Durhamites, and playing a lot of demon solitaire on the iPod touch. As each voter left the building, I thanked them for voting. I chatted with the woman in the pink leopard print shirt with blue streaks in her hair who had been standing out in the rain for several hours passing out literature. She wore an army hat with a big blue McCain/Palin button on the side. I scolded myself for thinking she may be racist. She didn’t look like a Republican. But who “looks like a Republican” anyway?

The last group of volunteers at the Kids Voting Booth

(who are also my awesome friends!)

L to R: Rod, Raymond, Lauren, Mike, Lesa, me

I enjoyed seeing my friends and fellow Kids Voting volunteers get excited when a child walked in the door. The pride on the faces of the parents was more palpable than the child’s after they submitted their ballot. Seeing an entire family wearing an “I voted” sticker is a sight indeed. It was a long day but a fulfilling one. I spent my day with Durham, with voters, with friends. Today was a good day, in the words of Ice Cube.

Added to the excitement of the election, my husband received his first job offer today. We’re not ready to publicly discuss that situation yet, but I can say that the excitement from that phone call only added to the historical significance of this point in time.

We celebrated with our community in Downtown. In the rain, hundreds of people stood together cheering for change. We were wet, smiling and joyous. There was no booing in the crowd, although Elizabeth Dole did receive a serenade of “na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbyeeeeeeeeee” during her concession speech. Damp and exhausted, the husband and I went home to enjoy the rest of the evening in the comfort of our house. We didn’t last too long until we collapsed from exhaustion, but oh did we sleep well.

Flyer for the Downtown Celebration (and the logo on my cool shirt obtained at said celebration!)

A cardboard version of the President-elect

Happy Bradys

Today is a day of jubilation. I feel happy and at peace. That feeling is only interrupted when I hear the cries of the defeated and their allegations against the President-elect I am so proud was elected. I have yet to figure out how to deal with that frustration or with the people who call out these fallacies and unwarranted attacks. If anyone could tell me how to respond, I would appreciate it. I just know that yesterday was one of the best days I have ever had in my life. Definitely in the top three. The future looks bright in so many ways. Change is nothing to be scared of, it is what carries us to new heights. It forces us to challenge ourselves, to look at the world in new ways and achieve what we never thought possible. It’s happening for my country and it’s happening in my home. The future is just waiting…

1 comment:

Ellobie said...

yaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy! :)