Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Slacker --- AND --- Proud to be an American

Ok, so, I've been a slacker. I really planned to keep up with this blog and make sure that I wrote something regularly. Well... between work and being pregnant, I've been a slacker. Lots of things to say about the pregnancy but I'll save that for another day.

Today, I feel compelled to write about being an American. On Monday night, I ran to the grocery store for a few things. While standing at the deli counter, the workers were discussing voting. The young women (probably 20 years old) were talking about their plans to vote and the one girl was animated in telling the other one how important it was to vote. She was even willing to drive her co-worker to the polls. Then, a young man came up and said he wasn't planning to vote. Well, the young lady got on him too, talking about how Americans have died for his right to vote. She was so passionate about it. She asked my opinion. I told them that it didn't matter to me who they voted for -- but they should vote, their opinion in the election matters.

I was thrilled to see people who traditionally don't vote, talking about the process and willing to consider why it's important. I don't know if they all voted. I hope they did though -- for whatever candidate they believed was best.

Then, on election day, I headed to my polling place. Everyone there was pleasant and positive. The process was smooth. I still find it a little jarring that in PA we vote at churches. (I have this archaic sense that the separation of church and state gets trampled here.) I also dislike having things thrust at me while trying to enter my polling church. I refused all leaflets and was a little agitated about the trek to the door. But then, a local candidate was also there. He didn't try to give me anything. He introduced himself and thanked me for voting. He never told me what office he was running for, he didn't ask for my vote, he didn't try to sway me.

In the end I voted for that local candidate. He didn't win. But I respect the campaign he ran and his integrity.

I get jaded by the judgmental, shallow and narrow minded people that I come into contact with at times in central PA. I long for New England where we at least talked about our differences - but those differences rarely separated us. In a neighborhood with families of many different religions and neighbors of different races, there was understanding and knowledge and kindness. So, to have an election that included candidates of both genders, Caucasian and African American, and locally Hispanic -- it's fabulous.