Pausing to Vote
11-04-2008
Business was brisk at my polling place this morning. There were no major delays, but I also managed to miss the morning rush by an hour or so. Given that I spend the better part of every four years closely watching the presidential primaries and general election, and that this long cycle is once again coming to an end, you might think I find the act of voting to be anticlimactic. But I actually find the brief ritual more reassuring than anything else.
 
No matter how crazy the political season gets, I can always count on there being continuity in the electoral process. Each time, I encounter the same stairwell up to the community room where we vote, the same local volunteers who have been signing me in for years, the same red, white and blue striped curtains on the voting booths, and the same optical scan machine that smoothly sucks my completed ballot into its belly.
 
Also, because everyone is basically in waiting mode for this evening, the day provides an opportunity for a little quiet reflection on all that has transpired over the past two years, and all that is just around the corner for the candidates who win tonight. And, while I am realistic about what difference my single vote will make among the tens of millions of votes cast in this election, like many Americans I derive an efficacy from my participation in the process that is its own reward.


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