10:40AM. I just voted. Like perhaps many during midterm elections, my ballot was a blizzard of slightly recognizable names and political affiliations. Plus a constitutional amendment or two. I tried looking at each candidate, democratic and republican (unfortunately, in our system nth parties are irrelevant,) and pulled the trigger. Er, lever. And the wheel of fortune came up snake eyes! (What? You’re never mixed metaphors before? Besides, there wasn’t a lever.) Mark Twain said that if voting did any good they wouldn’t let us do it. Food for thought and a future revolution, but for now it’s the only game in town. Like Churchill said, democracy is a terrible form of government. And it’s the best one we have.
It was surprisingly crowded in the voting troughs. There were plenty of voting stations, which were mostly full by the time I got my ballot. Behind me a mother and little girl were waiting. The little girl was upset because she wasn’t allowed to vote. Well, all she wanted was a sticker. The mother told her that we were all voting for her future, so she could have her sticker. Fair deal.
I made it through the lines, verified my residency, and got my ballot. I brought it to a ‘privacy’ booth and neatly colored in the ovals, making sure not to go over the lines. It’s an off-election year. Typically known for low voter turnout and names on the ballot for which you have no idea who they are or what, exactly, do they do? Representative democracy. You gotta love it.
On my way out, I gave my ‘I voted’ sticker to the little girl. Here’s a junior parliamentarian I want on my side. “Here,” I thought. “Take this sticker, bring it home and put it on your favorite book of nursery rhymes. Or your baptismal bible. When you look at it, remember that voting is your right. You may agree with what somebody in one party says or does but take issues with another. You may even have mixed opinions of the same person, liking what they do here and disagreeing with them there. Split your ticket. Split your party. Split your allegiance. Don’t swear an oath of loyalty to anybody. Nobody owns you. Think for yourself. Party planks aren’t agreed to by everybody in the party. There is room for disagreement and interpretation and discussion, and negotiation. Government is an unfinished work. As long as we keep talking to each other. And you get a sticker!” All I actually said was, “Here. This is for you,” and smiled. Mommy encouraged her to say thank you.
All politics is local.