Wednesday, November 7, 2012

On voting.

Yesterday marks the first day that I have voted for someone other than Ralph Nader for President of the United States. And also the first day that I have voted in a place. Before, I was always absentee. I must say, it felt pretty great to bike to a local polling venue, hand my already completed mail-by-vote to the appropriate volunteer, smile at the other voters, and receive my sticker.

Just before voting, I sat in a class called "Women in American Religions," and heard my professor, Patrick Mason, tell a story from the previous presidential election. At that time, four years ago, he was living and teaching in Egypt. Most of his students were not American, but he held a mock vote, just for fun. Afterward he was back in his office, and one of his colleagues thanked him for the opportunity to vote. She got a little bit misty eyed, as she explained that she knew that it was not real, and would not have a bearing on the election, but that it was the first time in her life that she had ever had a choice. She said it it made her feel like she mattered, as a person.

That choosing, that mattering, was meaningful to her, as the retelling was to me. I also remember the first women who had that opportunity to choose in the United States, and they were not the Suffragettes or women's rights workers we often think of (though I remember and revere them too): they were Mormon women from Utah, in 1869, fifty-one whole years before the 19th Amendment passed.

America is beautiful, and our right to vote is one of the strongest things that makes it so. As per the results, I am mostly excited for Elizabeth Warren's senate win. Just knowing she is part of congress makes me feel that much better about congress. I am especially happy for all of my loved ones in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville.

As for Mitt Romney, I wish he gave the speech that Joanna Brooks recognized he never gave. I think it might have helped his cause.



Naomi said...

I actually got misty-eyed walking into my polling place on Tuesday.

And can we please hang out soon?

Ralph Spencer Steenblik said...

I couldn't have done it without you!!