I have often felt that my vote does not count. In the 2000 and 2004 elections I voted absentee in my native Texas. Knowing my vote would drown in a flood of Bush, I traded my votes each time for 3rd party candidates, so that locals (in 2000 I was a student in New Mexico; in 2004 a student in New York) whose vote might actually swing things, could yield that power.
I am proud to have been one of the millions to help elect the first Black President in 2008. It’s a story I will tell my grandkids. But voting in Massachusetts, I again felt (for opposite reasons) that my vote did not seem to weigh much.
But the process still chokes me up.
Outside my poling place this year were incredibly polite picketers standing with signs. No one tried to stop me or push a position on me; they just stood with their sign and said “I’m glad you’re here – thank you for voting.”
The sign outside the door read “Vote Here” in four languages. Just inside the door I saw two ASL interpreters signing to each other, passing time. I’m proud to live in a diverse community where that many languages were necessary, and that those needs were respected.
I get a little child-like shiver of glee when I get to put my ballot through the machine.
On my walk home I passed two children, age ten at most, who were walking up the hill.
“I hope Scott Brown loses. But I want Obama to win. He’s just – he’s so smart.”
Four years ago there had never been a president who “looked like” those boys. They’ll never have to think that in their lives. There are lots of other boys and girls in my neighborhood who still can think that.
But I’m very grateful to live in a country that might someday change that.
I am very proud to live in a neighborhood, city, state, and nation, that asks me what I think every few years.
And I am grateful to be part of a community that asks everyone what they think, no matter what language they are most comfortable with.