Tuesday, April 22, 2008

God Bless America.

Every time I get a chance to head to the polls and stand in front of a machine that will deliver my political choice to the nation, I get a bit nostalgic. I think I probably post about this nostalgia every time, too. But it's a happy nostalgia and so I think I'm going to beat it to death in written form until I'm tired of it and move on.
There's just something about casting a vote that makes me utterly grateful to live and breathe on American soil. I would not consider myself overly patriotic. I forget to put the flag out on national holidays. I don't think I even OWN a flag. But I do have a deep gratitude for a people that let me enjoy the benefits of a democracy the way that I do.
I can walk there without being escorted by male relatives. I can do it in whatever clothing I choose, and with my head uncovered. Once there, I can present my driver's license to identify myself. I can -anonymously- go through the ballot, which, thanks to an education, I can read, and choose for myself what I think the best candidates are. And when done I can leave without fear of reprisal or harassment. I can stand in line and be pretty damned sure a bomb won't go off.
I don't know if we properly honor this process anymore. Yes, it's a right. But it's a right because we have maintained stability long enough for it to be one. In the absence of those who agree they should exist, all the rights of men tend to dwindle and be forgotten.
Each time I step up I understand that in that moment I am sharing with others a unique experience... the ability to have a say in who governs my life. In the face of Zimbabwe, in the face of Cuba, in the face of every country that sports a dictatorship I stand there and decide, for WHATEVER REASON I WANT, to vote for someone.
This is a fantastic gift, this democracy. I wish fewer people took it for granted. God Bless America, who lets even the most impoverished and illiterate of its people vote their thoughts.

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