Election Day, finally!
When I woke up this morning I remembered the election days of my youth. My parents would host or attend a party – on a school night! They would wear those silly straw hats trimmed in red, white and blue, and wear big buttons sporting their presidential candidate’s name. The women wore dresses, the men loosened their ties, ties since the husbands had arrived straight from work. These friends would eat snacks and huddle around the television. Occasionally I would hear someone holler, “Pennsylvania is in!”
I learned a lot from watching them. Not how to vote, not which party to claim, but I learned the importance of voting, of knowing the issues, listening to the candidates and their views. When we educate ourselves and reflect on how we want our country and our local communities shaped, when we study the men and women who want our votes, we participate in the democratic process.
When I was in Latin America, I heard the stories about the former dictators and the soldiers on the streets who would shoot anyone who came near the dictator’s residence. People simply survived, somehow, in that chaos and tyranny.
In the United States of America, we have slung mud, shouted opinions, debated until our voices end up hoarse. And today, we pull the lever, drop off the ballot, and watch as our choices form one decision.
We have been heard – and that privilege is worth a party, straw hats and all.
(S-R archives photo)