I just got back from standing in line to vote for 2 1/2 hours, and I didn't mind. I got there at 6:55 a.m., and already there was a huge line snaking all around the Sarvis Center. But people were in a great mood and I thought hell, I'm going to be crying all day -- this is the way it's supposed to be in my country. It's a beautiful warm day, a blessing for everybody waiting in line. I saw a lot of people I knew, of course, and at one point, somebody got the crowd singing "We Shall Overcome." It was awesome. I was in line with two middle-aged African American men -- Bernie and Melvin -- and a young kid who's an anthropology grad student at UMF -- sweet, sweet. Steve and Cary were there, along with Jake and Helen (VERY pregnant) with their twin boys Micah and Jonas in arm. My old friend and colleague Diane from Family Service Agency. And many, many more. The line just kept coming and growing and was still all around the outside of Sarvis Center when I left. Is it possible then, that the times and the country can change?? I proudly cast my vote for Barack Obama, feeling that my vote has never mattered more.
When I got home, I had this message from my husband, who went back to LA in time to vote at one of the most beautiful polling places in the world at Pt. Fermin Park overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Here's what he wrote:
Good morning, my beloved wife and voter. This is truly a great and historic day. I confess to some very powerful emotions about this event, this agonizingly important election. Forty years ago, 1968, was a year of tear gas, assassination, protest, Richard Nixon, the Poor People’s Campaign, and I was in the thick of it. It was the year that my own political and social soul was forged. It was one of the most intense years of my life. What I worked and struggled for then manifests itself today in this election. Today is the opportunity I thought might never happen in my lifetime--to vote in a presidential election of awesome significance where the forces of humanism and rationality have an excellent chance of prevailing. I know that when I stand in line to vote this morning, with the Korean Bell, Point Fermin, and the Pacific in the background (and maybe some pelicans), my feelings will be running high. I will be particularly touched if I end up standing in a long line. This is the way it should be. And if Obama wins, as it seems he will, this will be a defining day in our history, and not just because he will be our first Black president. You would think that 67 years of kicking around would have turned me into a cynic, but I really believe that this could be the beginning of something sweet. Forty years is a long time to wait. I will take pleasure in sharing this experience with Jesse. This is a good day for the United States of America and my heart is glad.
The soft or shrill voice within us
7 years ago