04 November 2008

A Nation Divided

I was talking about the election with some colleagues.  We were debating whether or not we would know the results by Thursday morning.  (My vote is NO, btw.  I am fairly sure that we're going to face a Bush vs. Gore-esq long-term battle.)  Someone pointed out that there hasn't been a landslide election in a very long time, that the results tend to be 51%/49%.  I hadn't thought about it in that way in a while, but he's not wrong.

That divide is part of what makes the democracy work; I can have my opinion, you can have yours, and the twain need never meet.  Neither party involved in my example is afraid to make our opinions known, we hold the freedom of speech as a sacred right.

A tangent - - I've noted frequently on these pages that I am sick unto death of campaigns, political ads, hoopla and hullaballo.  Sick. Of. It.  And I'm a junkie when it comes to all things political.  We're all sick of it, and yet, what is the chatter around the water cooler?  The election.  Politics.  Red vs. Blue, conservative vs. liberal, what should be done about the financial crisis by those in charge, voting.  We bitch about how sick of the whole mess we are, and then the conversation turns right back to the election.  Human nature, I guess.

Back to the point.  This divide shows itself on election day more than any other.

Ohio allowed early voting this year, and I took advantage of that.  Honestly, they could allow it every year and I wouldn't know.  It has been in the news, though.  I did it this year because along with a long battle for us to know who the winner is, I think that there will be a record turnout for voting this year, and like every other red-blooded 'merican, I don't like standing in line.

The county board of elections is housed in a reclaimed big box retail store, and it looks like it.  They have panelling dividing the various county departments housed there.  It is ugly.  I was astonished that the parking lot was crowded, not just with cars but with milling people too.  I found a space and coming inside the building, was accosted by a guy working for someone running for a seat on one of the county courts.  The candidate in question has chosen an unfortunate purple-pink-mauve color for his literature.  It is memorable, I'll give him that.  

Inside, the line to get your absentee ballot (which is how they're letting Ohioans vote early, by absentee) was long.  I couldn't see the end of it from the door.  When I got to the end, I thought, "I'm gonna be here all day."  But it moved quickly, and soon I was standing at the counter, ID in hand, and the nice civil servant went searching for me in the voter registration rolls.  I think I waited for that longer than I waited in line.  Dunno why people have so much trouble with the whole hyphenated name thing.  People, it just ain't that tough.

The lighting in that old big-box store is weird.  Either it is too dark to see properly, as in was in the voting "booths", really just partitions where you could stand and darken in your ovals, or it was blinding bright with the florescent lights.  I tried, really did, to take a picture of my ballot with the crackberry, showing who I choose for President, but the bb overcompensated for the lack of light with its built-in flash, and the ballot is too washed out.  Since it did flash and make a bunch of noise, I decided that it probably wasn't smart to continue to try to take pictures.  Disruptive, you know.

I had to wait in line again to turn in the ballot.  The number of people there really gave me hope that this time, finally, more people are taking the right to vote more seriously.  Maybe, for the first time in a while, we will have more than 35% of the eligible population actually vote.  

I have hope.

The chatter in the lines was all Obama, Obama, Obama, if that's any indication of what's going to happen.

I have hope!


Keetha said...

It warmed the cockles of my heart this morning to see all the people at the National Guard Armory voting.

Of course, most of of their votes are probably different from mine but so what - democracy in action. I'm hoping we'll wake up tomorrow knowing decisively who is President.

Lucy Arin said...

so glad to see you back! ITA with you. The right to vote at all, seemingly inconsequential, but so important...I was really gratified to see so many people voting.