Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Today I feel like an American ...

Twenty-five minutes ago, I cast my vote for President of the United States.

Voting, in my opinion, is one of those things that separate the humans from the animals. If you're a citizen and you don't take the time to put your choices about where your country, your state, your community should go on the record, then you're a bum and you don't deserve to hold the privileges that come with being a citizen. It's that simple. Too many people have bled and died, both in foreign wars and on domestic soil, for the right to vote.

So for the past 20 years, every election day, I've made it a point to take myself to the local polling place and do my thing. And more often than not, it's the first thing I do in the day - after getting out of bed, taking a shower and getting dressed, of course. It's always a good gauge for me to see how big turnout will be by the number of people who are in line when the polls open - or, indeed, if there is a line at all. This time, there was - I was third in a line of about seven at 7 a.m. here in Hollywood, and by the time I completed my ballot, there were more than a dozen voters in the space, of all ages and shapes and colors. Gratifying, to say the least. The passion for the electoral process really seems to be on its way up in recent years. One can always speculate why, even if those reasons are obvious. But they're coming to say their peace, and that's all that's important.

As I said, this is my 20th year as a voter in national and state elections. Sometimes my choices win, often they do not. And even in a nation when the right to vote and to have that vote counted seems to be under more scrutiny than it has since the 1960s, the fact that it's such an issue is, in itself, a positive. If you own a car or a TV or a computer, it behooves you to give a damn about the maintenance of that object, since it's your investment that's in them. Well, you own this country, so ... touché, as they say in Kentucky.

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