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|Subject: Thoughts on elections, US style.||Date: 11/7/2000 1:24 PM|
|Author: RonBass||Number: 24128 of 864365|
When i returned from voting, I received this from a freind, and thought I'd share it:
For quite a long time now I have been deeply cynical of this whole presidential campaign -- a campaign that has come down to the evil of two lessors, as I have heard it described. Here in Wyoming, a state with 3 electoral college votes, my individual vote for president (regardless of my choice) has been meaningless for nearly a year -- it is foregone that the Wyoming electoral college votes are Republican. Most of those friends and colleagues I know who listened to the debates were mostly doing so just to have their decision, long before made, ratified. And regardless of which side they were on, or what they heard in the debates, the campaign rhetoric, the political ads -- all served simply to confirm for each their position -- a position arrived at almost automatically and much earlier. So why bother?
But at this moment, well before any results can be reported, I am deeply moved and profoundly proud to be a resident of the United States of America. At 7:00 AM I was 33rd in line at my local polling place, and the line grew steadily behind me. I stood in line with strangers, neighbors and friends -- Independents, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and "others." We didn't speak of politics, nor of candidates, nor of positions. We made small talk. We honored one another by respecting each other's views, acknowledging them
as equal to our own. There were no guards at the doors, no uniformed "keepers of the peace" watching over the process. The process, rather, was being conducted by volunteers -- friends, neighbors and strangers. And not a one of us in line even gave a thought about the honesty of the poll workers or the integrity of the process. We didn't have to. We know it. We expect it. We can't imagine it any other way.
As I left the booth and walked back past the line of citizens quietly awaiting their turn to exercise their fundamental right in this democracy of ours; as I turned up my collar to the icy wind inevitably whipping across the parking lot; as I watched the stream of cars and pickups coming into that lot and driving away, I confess, I choked up.
In a couple of months we will have a new government. And when it changes, we will have a party -- no violence, no jailing of the vanquished, no turmoil -- a party! We will grouse about the ineptitude of those we just elected; we will let them know in no uncertain terms of our dislikes and our demands; we will judge them publicly and privately; and we will ultimately trust them to manage the affairs that keep us working more or less together.
I voted for a new president, even though I knew my vote didn't really matter.
I voted for judges and local officials, and constitutional propositions and optional tax issues where I knew my vote would matter. And I did that side by side with friends, neighbors and strangers, in suits and blue jeans and uniforms and sweatpants, in rusty pickups and shiny imported autos. Together we just changed our government. We took a pen in our hands and shook every governmental institution in this, the most powerful country in the world -- and then we all went to work and got on with our day.
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