My husband and I were a couple of young, cynical little snots who didn’t vote till we were in our thirties. I’m not sure why. I think we liked the idea of being disillusioned and world-weary and above it all. Like I said, we were young. But at least we grew up.
Now, like some sort of rabid convert, I can’t imagine not voting. I am fierce about it. Just looking at a photo on cnn.com of a line of voters waiting to cast their ballots makes me emotional. That was all it was — just a random group of people waiting peacefully in a line, standing under trees that were vivid red and yellow.
Still, I got one of those lumps in my throat, just thinking about this whole majestic process, this crazy country that I love too much not to expect better things from, this peaceful transition of power. God, I hope it will be peaceful — and fair.
I met my husband at our local polling place, just to get a sense of the day. Oddly, there were very few people there — and no line. What a disappointment. I’d planned to wait with my husband, reminding him every 15 seconds or so that he should have early voted. That’s one of the great benefits of marriage: Being able to say “I told you so” to the same person year after year.
But not today. “I’m glad I voted on election day,” my husband said. “You had me scared to death about the lines.”
Most people in our precinct, which traditionally has one of the highest turnouts in the county, probably voted early, said a woman who was working outside. There hadn’t been any lines the entire day, in fact.
I know it’s all for the best, but this early-voting business makes election day pretty anticlimactic. People came and went quickly and efficiently. Nobody was yelling or arguing. Nobody was getting cheated out of a vote.
All I could do was come home and start the long wait. It already seems like we’ve been waiting forever. We only have a few hours left now. Nothing left to do but wait and hope for the best.
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)