Viva la vote

The line to vote was quite long but the crowd of primarily retired folk was friendly. As I got to the check-in desk I realized I didn’t have my wallet, so home I went to grab it. When I returned I noticed a great deal of black clothing. Yes, a great deal of black clothing. The Seminary next door had just got out of class and all the Seminary students and their priest professors had arrived to vote.

It was a novel experience: voting for Amendment 2 among dozens of Catholic priests. Perhaps I should have brought my camera after all.

I checked with the vote results tonight and McCaskill and Talent and Amendment 2 are close, very close. The vote did not follow religious lines as much as it is following urban/rural lines. I don’t want to wait up, though, to see the finals. I’ll see it in the morning.

I read over at Ralph’s, his reminisce of old voting machines, which was funny because that was one of the things we talked about in line. I was chatting with a younger, pregnant woman about the Diebold machines when an even younger man in front of her asked something about them–I think it was the seeming lack of privacy with the newer machines. The older lady behind me mentioned how she missed the old machines, where you pulled the lever and a curtain closed and it was just you and the switches.

I mentioned that you really felt like you voted with a machine like that: the snapping sound as you pushed the switches for each vote, the effort needed to pull the lever, which counted the votes and opened the curtain. The young man didn’t know what I was talking about, of course: too young. He grew up with punch cards leaving little chads hanging underneath.

Don remembers those old machines, I bet. He wrote tonight about going with his parents when they voted using a big old paper ballot, and marking your choices while you all were seated at a table:

When I was a child, my mother and father voted in the Kendrick Elementary School cafeterium (lunchroom) in South Waco. The ballots were paper, and quite large. There were no booths or isolated places to mark ballots. Voters went to the low lunchroom tables, and sat and voted in full view of their neighbors. I usually went with them when they voted in the afternoon. A woman who moved to Waco from Ohio once told me how uncomfortable it made her feel to vote without a booth on ballots as big as a paper table cloth.

Can’t you just close your eyes and picture the scene? Folks bundled up against the cold, sitting at those old folding lunch room tables, under the harsh fluorescent lights–large paper ballots pushed up next to each other, people either trying very hard to peek, or trying very hard not to peek.

After the vote, I felt too hyper to come home and work. Today was a good day for errands. All four of my tires were pounds too light, so I aired them up, an oddly fitting activity for election day. Went shopping, too, as well as to Starbuck’s where I treated myself to a latte AND one of their cinnamon-sugar homemade cake donuts. I also took movies back to my county library, and picked up three new ones (“Terminal”, “Absolute Power”, and “Constantine”). As I went from the store to the library, I’d pass people, or be standing next to people, and we’d just start chatting. We’d all voted and we felt like we’d been let out of prison, or at a minimum, released for recess. We were giddy. Yes, giddy.

Don also mentions some of this; how difficult this vote was. He’s also right when he talks about with all that was discussed with this election–loudly, emphatically, and above all, angrily–we still haven’t addressed the true core issues we need to be discussing.

I read over at Sheila’s about CNN’s little ‘blog-in’ coverage of the election results. With plenty of food and beverages, natch. I hope they had fun, got a lot to eat and drink, but I beg to differ with CNN: that’s not weblogging. Same as the election today: that’s not democracy. We can’t go in once every two years and ignore what happens in our government the rest of the time. We also can’t continue to be polarized over issues. Every time we are, we lose a little more of a our freedom, a little more of our rights. Corporate fodder. That’s what voters are today, corporate fodder.

I think that we all, most of us, have more in common with each other than the people we elect. I voted for Claire McCaskill, but she, like all politicians, like her competitor Talent, sees the world a different way than people like you and me. I respect her, what she stands for and voted for her, but I liked that priest today wearing the hand knitted vest; gently taking a little old lady’s hand in his and asking her how she was doing, as if her answer was all that mattered. I doubt he and I agreed on many issues today–in fact, chances are if he follows his church’s recommendations, we disagree strongly on most issues–but he seemed like a nice man, and very real. He didn’t look like an Agent of Oppression, Destroyer of Science, or Pusherman for God.

I’m babbling, aren’t I? That’s OK. It’s OK to babble in one’s weblog–well, as long as you don’t babble for pay, or if you do so, you disclose.

Back to Ralph’s and Don’s posts and the election. Though I’m worried about the election results, I feel cheered by their words; their’s and the comments left by others in my earlier posts. Enormously cheered, in fact. That’s good because it looks like the races that meant the most to me are probably going to lose. I guess that means the priest with the sweater is happy. Good. Good for you Father, whoever and wherever you are.

Unless my vote ends up on the winning side, in which case: neener neener.

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