Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Perspective On An Old Idea

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.

9 comments:

PrincessB said...

I feel the same way. It is a privilege to have the right to vote. After all, as women, we weren't always afforded that right. I think it's interesting to note that less than 600 votes determined the 2000 election. And I am a firm believer in vote or don't complain.

Jen said...

Being from Venezuela, where all of the votes I've made since 1998 haven't counted at all, I'm with your boss!

adriana said...

I love going to the polls on voting day. I love the feeling of being surrounded by people who realize how important casting a vote is - and, especially today, how excited people were to cast their votes. It restores some faith that people actually give a shit about what happens around them!

Two Date Diva said...

Princess B- You know I haven't thought about it that way, but you're right, we didn't always have the right to vote. No Vote, No Bitch!

Jen- wow, that sucks. I don't really understand how so many hollywood types seem to think that Venezuela and it's current administration are some type of utopia. Perhaps they should live there for a bit to get a real feel for how it feels to not have your voice be heard. We can take our liberties for grant a lot here.

Adriana- that is a great attitude to have, I never really thought about how nice it is to be surrounded by people who really do care enough to get out and vote. But you're so right!

Surfergrrl said...

that actually got me teary-eyed. My brother doesn't vote and I just can't stand that he doesn't. It's just ignorant.

adventure grrl said...

Can I just say... OBAMA. Happy and proud. hope u are too.

Dee said...

I feel much like your boss. I feel quite proud to vote and I too was there right when the polls were opened at 6 am and voted right away. I love exercising my right where so many around the world cannot. I am glad that it is over because I tend to believe that campaigning is too long and too much money is spent and I believe that we should allow 3 parties in so the country can hear from them but that's another argument for another day.

Nilsa said...

Isn't it amazing how just one person can give you a whole new perspective on something seemingly mundane? Awesome that you waited until the actual election day. I think the sacrifice of waking up early was hopefully worth it.

Average Girl In Average World said...

Oh my. Your boss must have some crazy stories...

And I agree with Princessb