I spent yesterday in a sweat of nervous energy, trying to fill the hours until the polls closed and the returns began to come in. Even my young sons were caught up in the excitement, though I was surprised to discover, in this exclusive interview, that they came down on either side of the political divide.
Going about my errands yesterday, I drove past the polling place in the town next to mine. As I crested the hill and the little white buildings on the diminutive town green came into view, I saw the parking lot packed with cars and people filing in to vote. I felt a sudden visceral wave of pride and gratitude rise my mouth in a half sob. I know my last post was partisan, but the pride I felt yesterday was not about winning. I didn’t know then who would win. In fact, while I live in a purple state that went blue yesterday, my pocket of New Hampshire is decidedly red. So more likely than not, those folks were lined up to vote for Romney. The thing is, regardless of the candidates or the stakes, the sight of people peaceably assembling to vote, and without any fear of reprisal, gets me every time. I can be as cynical as the next girl about all the money and special interests, but on election day, when everyone is slotted into the booths with only their feet and ankles visible below the curtain, it’s down to one man, one vote, as it’s meant to be. Fine leather wingtips alongside steel-toed work boots alongside a college student’s optimistic flip-flops, despite the cold wind sweeping in at the edge of a coming Nor’Easter.
As I drove by, I noticed a sign by the road advertising a bake sale, soup and lunch at the polling location. I suspect most of those people would have voted anyway, even without the soup. But I cannot express the fullness of my gratitude for the privilege of living in this country where we vote without fear, without trepidation, and with an untroubled stomach, ready to slip our ballots into the waiting machine, and then stroll over to bake sale and have a cookie with the neighbors.