A dear friend left town on Friday with one day's planning to get-out-the-vote with the Obama campaign in Nevada. Nevada! I wonder if I would have gone with her a few years ago. Maybe not--likely I would be too shy. Never the extrovert, me. Canvassing fills me with dread and I kind of start sweating. But still. Not an option for me now even if I were up for it. But holy crap, do I admire her for going.
So here we are, my baby is sleeping in his big boy bed in the next room. I'm keeping the kettle on for my friend's return, raising the next generation of informed voters and sending money instead of knocking on doors. We are all doing our part.
This election has changed me. Maybe it would have happened anyway with my ADVANCING AGE, but I really do feel as though my voice and my vote matter now. I have never lived in a swing state--except Pennsylvania! Ha! But I left there soon after I could vote. And North Carolina! Ha! Where Jesse Helms wanted to put a fence around our liberal town--the zoo!--and charge admission. Any thought of my own vote was tempered with some nagging it-doesn't-matter business about the electoral college and the way certain states "always" vote.
One year I didn't bother to vote at all. And it didn't matter. My state went the way I hoped, the election did not. The politicians ("they") would do what they wanted anyway. Except for all the elections I've been alive for? The one where I didn't bother to vote is the one I remember.
But this year it seemed that my vote did matter, that the stakes were so high that it had to. This year one candidate gave a voice to my growing discontent and a chance to heal this disillusionment with my own government, and in the process I realized how badly I have wanted that healing. And why not? Wars have been fought, mothers have lost their children, for less.
And you know what? I believe him. I do. I also believe that if he wins, he will not be perfect. However it turns out I am now something, and I suspect so is an entire generation or three, that is here to stay. Generations of involved citizens. In that way, at least, he has--no, WE have--a great victory already.
I sent in my ballot today. Here's to voting.
And it seems Starbucks will give you free coffee if you tell them you voted.