Monday, November 3, 2008

The Nail-Biting Finish

I haven't written about politics in awhile so now I have to ask: Have you voted yet?
Thanks to the convenience of early voting, I went last week. I would have rather waited until the 4th - the real Election Day. It felt a little unreal, a bit like opening Christmas presents early, but it was a matter of practicality. It was simply easier to go alone while the kids were in school rather than take them all with me and wait in line with them. And I'm glad I went alone because while I knew that I might get a little teary, I was surprised by the overwhelming surge of emotion as I placed my ballot in the machine.
I felt foolish as the tears streamed down my cheeks but not at all alone. This election feels monumental to me and guessing by the impressive voter turnout already, I know I'm not the only one. This is perhaps the most important election I will have participated in - ever. I'm not talking about the obvious historical impact since race has been a non-issue for me in this campaign. I'm talking about how casting my ballot was the last proactive step I could take to making change - change to make this country better for myself and my children. As I stood there feeding my ballot into the machine watching the number change from 40111 to 40112, I knew that my vote had been counted. Now all I can do is wait.
Some folks I know are hosting watch parties Tuesday evening. I am torn between wanting to be in the comfort of like-minded friends and wanting to be in the comfort of my own home as I nervously await election results. At the end of the day on Tuesday, the outcome (no matter how personal it feels to me) will be whatever it will be. I can not change it. I will either be happily filled with hope and optimism or I will be plotting my change in citizenship. Either way, come Wednesday morning, life will go on business as usual. Lunch boxes will have to be packed, laundry will have to washed, carpools will have to be driven. Eventually, we will find something else to discuss.
Until then, I feel both nauseous and hopeful. The finish line is in sight and I want to push to the other side quickly to get this part over with but at the same time, I want to keep savoring the possibilities. Once it is over, there will be no going back to this moment where it feels like anything can happen.
How will you spend the next two days? Will you seek the company of your political peers or will you sit in front of the television coverage, biting your nails?

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1 comment:

Madame Queen said...

I'm reading blogs, waiting for the numbers to start coming in. Antsy, knees shaking, fingers drumming. Waiting.

I, too, got emotional this morning, but for me it was driving to work and seeing the streets lined with people holding up signs and jumping up and down and waving. It is so exciting to see everybody getting so excited. It does feel monumental.