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Archive for October 26th, 2008

My ballot, she is cast


Friday afternoon after work I drove downtown to the courthouse to take advantage of early voting. The first thing I noticed was that there didn’t seem to be anywhere to park; the city square was literally full of automobiles. As I finally found a spot and started walking to the polls, I noticed several groups of people walking around the square’s sidewalks talking and laughing together. They seemed happy to be out, but reserved, as if waiting for a storm to arrive. There was a that peculiar feeling of anticipation and electricity in the air. Inside the courthouse the queue to vote was rather long but constantly moving, as people spent their last few pre-vote moments considering their choices. The low murmur of conversation was nestled in the background, but every few minutes the ear could pick up a stray “Obama” here or a “McCain” there. Some faces were happy and some were anxious as each voter got closer to the moment of ultimate civic responsibility: casting their ballot.

I made small talk with the election worker at the registration table as I handed her my identification. She asked me if I knew how the stock market had done that day, as she hadn’t been within earshot of a television or a radio. I told her it was way down early, but had rallied back at the close. She seemed relieved. She smiled sadly as she gave me back my driver’s license and said, “We’re really in a mess, aren’t we?” “Yes, ma’am,” I replied. “Oh, well,” she said. “Thank you for coming to vote today.” She seemed to really mean it.

Another worker walked me to the voting machine and instructed me in its use. “Don’t forget to confirm your ballot at the end,” she said. “Every vote is important.” I scrolled through the ballot’s pages and made my selections, which I had carefully planned in advance. There were no surprises. All the expected names were there, along with various bills and amendments up for public approval. After confirming my choices, a blue screen on the voting machine appeared reading, “Your ballot has been cast. Thank you for voting.” “You’re welcome,” I said.

As election day approaches, we will hear all kinds of predictions and opinions. We will hear forecasts of hope and doom from all sides. Some of these voices will be quite loud and convincing, others will be quiet and reassuring. But in the end, these voices will not determine the outcome of the contest. The equal voice of each American man or woman, spoken through their right to vote, will rule the day. Our country’s problems may seem dire and our future may seem uncertain, but two inevitable constants remain: God is in heaven and your vote counts. Don’t let it go to waste.

Cross-posted to Facebook.

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A record of this week’s marathon training activity:

Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: off
Saturday: 3 miles (Bison Stampede), +6 miles
Sunday: off
Total miles: 19
Commemorative T-shirts received: 2
$10 Dixie Cafe gift certificates received: 2

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