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The Backward Life

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” —Philip Roth

Democracy, Writing and Weariness

By 2:48 PM , , , , , , , , , , ,

I voted yesterday. I almost didn't, but don't tell anyone. Even before my daughter expressed her frustration with the electoral votes and the news calling all the states before the ballots were counted, I was a little fed up. I too felt it may not make a difference if I went to the polls. This feeling was more directed at the presidential election than my state elections, but it still almost kept me from doing my part.

When I got to the polls last night the line for my precinct was extremely long. I don't remember there being this many people at the last presidential election. In line with me was a man, about my age, who began a casual conversation with me. We both observed how we were seeing people at the polls we may not have seen around Moscow before- not individuals we were acquainted with, but "types" of people we don't normally see in our everyday wanderings of the city. I realize this sounds like I am stereotyping the residents, but really I am just making an observation.

Our small town, and the surrounding area, is full of all different groups of people. There are farmers, college students, young families, single professionals, liberals, conservatives, free spirits and many more. What I, and my companion in line, found was that all of these people came to the polls. They all had something at stake, and they took their responsibility seriously. It was starting to make me feel extreme guilt over my thoughts of dismissing the election.

I voted, and the nice woman at the polls dropped my ballots into the box, (which I must point out was just a large Rubbermaid container with a slit in the top- definitely top-of-the-line materials) and she congratulated me before handing me a sticker. It felt good.

After voting I arrived home to a delicious meal my 14-year-old daughter had prepared. We watched some election coverage and tried to explain the process to our children without sounding like we didn't know what we were talking about (probably the truth most of the time), and then I went upstairs to write (NaNoWriMo is kicking my butt).

It was a tiring day. One of my friends posted on Facebook this morning that she felt as though she had an election hangover. I am also feeling overloaded with the numbers, and although all of the elections may not have gone the way I had hoped, I do have hope. I have faith in the people of my small town and county, and I have hope my children are learning the importance of standing up for what you believe in, even if it feels as though your voice is too small to be heard.

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  1. I too wasn't real thrilled that they called a particular state the moment the polls closed. I live in California and our polls closed at 8 p.m. Within minutes they were already giving the state to Mr. Obama. We did vote; afterwards I told son, who is 23 years old and voting in his second presidential election, that our votes wouldn't really count for the presidency because of the electoral votes. It makes one not want to vote, but it is a right and a right I take seriously so we did go to the poll. I agree with you, definitely an election hangover today. I'm thinking within days life will get back to normal.