Hope in the Election Line
November 8, 2016, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I set my alarm clock for 5:30 this morning. It went off and for a moment I was confused. Was I going to work? I thought I didn’t work there anywhere?

Then it hit me.

It’s election day.

I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. It was pitch black out and the room had a chill. I checked my phone–36 degrees outside. Excellent. I through on some clothes, pulled on my seriously warm boots, jacket, hat, and drove over to my polling center which is almost basically in my backyard.

I pulled into the parking lot, it was only 6:15 at this point and there were not TOO many cars parked. It was hard to determine which entrance to use to the high school gym because there was no wall of volunteers to push brochures into your hands as you walked, half awake, into the building. There where three people who politely asked me if I needed information on their parties candidates. I said no, they said to have a good day.

I opened the door and a small line had formed, maybe barely over 50 people. I walked down the hall and took my place where the line was looping back up towards the entrance.

No one was yelling. No one was telling someone they were wrong. No one was being hateful or racists or ignorant. No one wore paraphernalia for whomever they were voting for. The man ahead of me turned around and asked me how old I was–which was a fair question because I was wearing a winter hat with cat ears on it. He was open carrying, with a badge attached to his jeans. I did not feel threatened. Another guy, on the other side of the line, wore an NRA shirt. That’s all the shirt said. NRA. Nothing about anyone taking his guns, nothing about giving teachers guns, nothing about having to take a class before buying a gun.

Just the letters.

Everywhere around me, people were engaged in earnestly polite conversation with one another. I live in a small town so it is possible that some of these people happen to know one another prior to this line, but some you could tell were small talk. There was a woman with a denim jacket with the American Flag bedazzled onto the back of it. She was laughing loudly and holding her Starbucks green cup. She made me smile.

I stood in that line for about 45 minutes until I reached the registration check-in table. For 45 minutes, the 2 years of absolute bullshit surrounding this election seemed to evaporate, or even better, seemed to not have existed ever at all.

It was enlightening, even. I felt the stress that I had felt since the night before lift off of my shoulders. For as much hate and division shown on social media (friends not even talking to one another), here in this line–the final frontier–no one seemed to even want to discuss it. We were all there, together, shivering and drinking our too hot coffee while waiting to change the country. Like we did 4 years ago. And 4 years before that. j

In that line, in that room, in that booth, I no longer felt afraid. It is out of my hands, I thought. I can only worry about what I can control, and that is who I vote for.

Even if the candidate that I didn’t care of wins tonight, I have been given a glimpse at the true span of the American people. They are not the screaming, violent, horrifying crowds that would appear at rallies. They are not the misinformed and overly confident  jerks on Facebook.

Sure, these people exist I am sure. But they are not the sum of the masses. I trust that right now. I have to believe that the majority of voters today will be like the ones I shared my experience with: friendly, non-aggressive, peaceful.

As I walked out of the building, still hearing no chanting outside or tense murmurs inside, it felt more like I was leaving church rather than my local polling place.



And I got my damn sticker.



1 Comment so far
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I’m a little sad I’ll probably never vote in a polling place. Oregon has vote by mail (which, don’t get me wrong, I much prefer! I got to vote weeks ago with my voters pamphlet and internet at my fingertips, at my leisure). But as you just described there does seem to be something almost holy about going somewhere to vote!

Comment by Blaze2242

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