Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Do your duty ...

Unless you live under a rock or some sort of undisclosed location, you know that today is Election Day, the one time every two years when we, as the drivers of the American Dream, can check under the hood and make sure that the parts are working in the way that we want them - and if they're not, swap them out in favor of new equipment. It's also a day that thousands of people have literally given their blood, whether on a battlefield or right here on native soil, for so that we may voice our opinion freely. Remember that as you journey to your local polling place to cast your ballot, and as you make sure your ballot is cast correctly. Never let anyone, including yourself, take your right to vote away from you.

If you need help figuring out where you vote, go to this site. Don't count on anybody calling you with information about where, and when, to vote. Chances are they are not your friend.

I voted today bright and early, at 7 a.m., when the polls opened here in California. I have made it a point to vote in every election precisely for the reasons cited above, but this year especially it was important for me to do it first thing in the morning. My local polling has shifted around in recent years, from a high school to a gay and lesbian center, to an elementary school, to a community town hall. This time around, I voted at a synagogue. And I am happy to report that by the time the polls officially opened, there was a line of about eight people, spanning all strata of race and age and apparent social standing, waiting to do their civic duty. This is significant because in 2004 - when we were voting for president, no less - I went to vote some three hours into the day and was only the third or fourth person at my polling station. If the turnout this morning was any indication, this could be a big day. Why, we could get maybe 55 percent of the eligible voters doing their job - still pathetic compared to other democracies, but for the U.S., where it seems like people care more about who wins on Dancing with the Stars or American Idol than who represents them in Congress, a big deal.

So I went in, I filled out my ballot, I cringed as the electronic counting machine temporarily lost juice and then had to be powered up. But eventually I was tallied and I got my sticker. Then, while leaving a local restaurant with my breakfast, I passed a small group of teens entering with a parent or teacher in tow. "Hey," I overheard one of the kids saying, "he's already voted." "Yeah," I thought to myself, "that's how it's done. And in a few years, it will be your turn."

From my head to God's ears. And, hopefully, to yours.

Tag, you're it.

No comments: