Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Love

I love Election Day.  If making it into a national holiday wouldn't "water it down" by eventually changing it to a Monday and turning it into an extended weekend of sales at the mall, I'd say that I'd love to see Election Day become a national holiday.  More friends and families heading out to cast their votes together.  Holding canned food drives at polling places.  Planning Election Day dinners and parties. 
This country, of all countries, should be as enthusiastic about Election Day as it is about the Fourth of July.  Red, white, and blue-sprinkled cupcakes in the bakery shop windows.  American flags whipping in the wind on every house-front.  Lines to vote as long as lines to watch parades.  
"It's not the voting that's democracy," playwright Tom Stoppard (author of my favorite play, Arcadia ♥♥)  notes.  "It's the counting."  Mike and I will walk to our polling place together tonight when he gets home from work, and then it will be a night of sandwiches and spinach-artichoke dip in front of the TV as we watch election coverage.  
I found a number of American flags while out on a walk this morning.  
I love that.  I love seeing the colors, the pride, the lack of apathy.  Today matters.  
Whenever my Italian grandfather would hear some story of "only-in-America" craziness on the nightly news, he would shake his head and mutter, "What a country!"  And always, always, he would follow that with "But I wouldn't want to live anywhere else."
"You kids," he would tell us.  "You just don't know how good you have it." Like most of what Papa said, that is always a good thing for me to remember when I need some perspective. 
This morning shined bright in my neighborhood.  Leaves glittered in the sunlight as they fell from the trees.
After a dark week of rain, this morning's sunshine was a blessing.  A renewal of hope both in and out of the voting booths.  Senator John Kerry's 2004 concession speech beautifully reminds us that "in an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans."    I wish Papa had lived just three years longer so we could have talked about that.  He surely would have been nodding appreciatively at Senator Kerry's words.  "See," he would have told whoever was there in the living room with him.  "He knows.  He knows." 
Crunchy fallen leaves on sidewalks.
Last week's Halloween jack-o-lanterns still sitting on peoples' stoops and front porch steps.
I love the whimsy especially when it is in the form of adult-carved cat-faced pumpkins feet away from political signs and bumper stickers.
I am just pleased to see people take an interest and vote, no matter their choice.  We tend to associate political campaigns with so much negativity, but it seems to me that that is mostly found online and in the media:  In "real" life, I think we all tend to be pretty respectful of each other.  And excited about this day.  Mike's and my old polling place was an elementary school gym, and outside it, the kids would sit at folding tables with hand-drawn-in-crayon "VOTE!" posters taped to the fronts and sell voters cookies.  I really think that when those of us of voting age turn off our televisions and computers and get in line to cast our ballots, the same simple excitement and wonder is ours, as well.  "Hardball" and Fox News and this week's poll and yesterday's "best" attack ads and last week's hard-hitting blah blah blah blah blah all slip away, and We the People are at the polling place with nothing but hopes and dreams and ideas about Changing Things and Making Things Better on our minds.  ♥  Happy Election Day.


Nellie said...

I've not missed voting in an election in 51 years! Wow! We have early voting in Tennessee, and we voted the first day it was possible. Your grandfather sounds like a very wise man!

We seem to become rather complacent about our privileges at times. I remember the stories of the struggles encountered when women were trying to gain the right to vote. We need to regain some of that spirit.

Enjoy your evening. I hope you will celebrate a win by your favorite candidate.

Val said...

Thank you, Nellie, and yes about Papa ♥ and complacency and the need for renewed spirit.

And 51 years! That's wonderful! I voted for the first time in 1996. It's a privilege and a hard-fought-for one, as you said.

Have a good night. :)

Lisa said...

Today I heard that in the 1700s, Americans would indeed celebrate - with cake, parades, etc. So what you've got Val, is the spirit of '76, I think! A presidential election is, of course, terribly exciting.

(I read "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" and loved it!)

Val said...

Aww, another Stoppard fan! Yes! :)

That is interesting about the 1700s, and I would certainly hope that it was that way back then, especially, when the country itself was still so new.

As an aside, I have never received an "I voted" sticker. I thought maybe I'd get one tonight, but no. I still haven't gotten one. Mike even asked one of the volunteers if there were any, and no, they didn't have any. Maybe next time. :)

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Val, what a great post!

Val said...

Thank you, Sandra. I need to figure out why the spacing of my text keeps getting messed up with the new Blogger format, though. When I "preview" it, it looks fine, but in the published post, the first word of the first paragraph is just hanging there by itself and the rest of the text follows under the photo, etc. The new format has really been aggravating to me.