Friday, November 7, 2008

Taking a stand

On Tuesday Jennifer, Kyle and I became wrapped up in something that's been an iconic part of American life ever since our country was founded: we waited in line. It was a line so long it wrapped around a building, down a street, through an old man's backyard, up a creek, over a waterfall, and around a bend, ending just a few feet from the beginning. Sure, we had quite the wait, but it was nothing compared to what people were going through in other states. Virginia had rain. The Dakotas had snow. Kansas had that rare tsunami. At least we had beautiful weather. For us, it was like taking a pleasant stroll... with cement shoes.

This was election day 2008, and everyone was excited. As we waited in line with the rest of America, we saw mothers and fathers wearing Obama pins and hats, and children dressed up in t-shirts that they themselves designed with brightly-colored letters that read "VOTE OBAMA!" Everyone was wearing big smiles and talking about how much this election means to them. Meanwhile, all the McCain supporters - well, this is New York, so we didn't see any McCain supporters. There were a couple people handing out pamphlets about some Green Party candidate, which were helpful in disposing our gum before we entered the building. I'm just glad that, once we arrived at the front of the line, there was a voting booth waiting for us. I hear that in some parts of the country, people waited hours only to find out that they were actually in line for the "It's A Small World" ride at Disneyland.

Voting in New York is purely ceremonial, since the state was called for Obama back in August. Still, I enjoyed being out there with my family and fellow citizens, and taking part in that age-old tradition. The voting machines here remind us of just how old the tradition is, since they hearken back to the early 1800's. It's fun to flip all the switches and then pull the heavy red lever, which makes a sound similar to a falling guillotine. And if you're lucky, you might win the jackpot prize! Jennifer says the machines are, in fact, illegal, since the federal government ruled that they should be replaced with boring computer machines that do the voting for you. So, in a way, we were all accomplices to a crime by simply going to the polls. Expect the entire state of New York to get busted this weekend on a special election edition of COPS.

No matter what, it was a privilege to take part in a civic duty that I didn't have to make up a crazy story to get out of. And this year was extra special, since I had a chance to vote for History...

...Bill History, that is. Of the Defenestration Party. He ran on a platform to turn subways into roller coasters and to loosen the ban on whales as pets. He didn't get many votes. I guess America's not ready for that kind of change... yet.

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