Last week, I had an amazing conversation with, of all people, my boss. Now just to clarify, my boss is one of the most intelligent people I know and he has a different point of view on a lot of things. When I mentioned that I would like Friday off to go and vote early, he told me I was ruining the excitement of election day.
"Huh?" I quizzed, with a lot of eye blinking. I didn't get it. How could voting EARLY ruin election day?
He explained that in his home country of Congo (you may have read of the unrest there recently in the news), there are no elections. He did recall one election when he was in college, but he said that because he and other college students voted against the incumbent President, they were beaten when they walked out of the polling booth and their ballots were ripped to shreds. But for the most part, there are no elections. Instead, they tend to have wars.
He talked about what a privilege it is to go and vote on the one day that is designated for voting and how we should never take Election Day for granted. He believes it should be national holiday.
After hearing his story of the one Congolese election he did vote in and hearing him describe how he gets up early on Election Day to be the first voter at his polling place. I was inspired. The man actually gets up at the crack of dawn and celebrates going to vote. What I looked at as an inconvenience of having to stand in line (really early), he sees as an honor and a duty as an American.
So, being inspired by his enthusiasm, I waited to vote until this morning. I got up very early and stood in a very short line with my neighbors to do my civic duty. I didn't feel quite as excited as my boss seems to (could be cause I'm not a morning person), but it felt good to cast my ballot and know that regardless of the outcome, my vote will count. I knew that I wouldn't get beaten up when I left the polling place and life would go on with out a civil war, no matter what. Now THAT is something to get excited about.