America once again held an election that will result in the peaceful (hopefully) transfer of power to a man (one day ladies) who will hold the title of President.
Democracy at it’s best
Once again, I spent the day at our precinct acting as an election judge, with a team of first timers who rocked it. We were excited. Several had offered to act as judges without the benefit of payment (though none of us is turning down our check). All had attended the online training, keeping enough information that we could function with confidence.
Maybe it was only bravado, but we were terrific at faking it!
Our team consisted of a couple of working men, one working woman, 2 high school students, 2 college students, and a fantastic election coordinator. We clicked. People could see what needed doing and they did it. Handbooks came out, directions were followed, no arguing or debating – things just got done. The polls closed at 7pm and we left at 8pm.
Paperwork done in quadruplet!
Because of Covid, my usual polling place moved to an elementary school down the street. It was also the location for 2 precincts that people had voted in for decades. We took over their regular room and they had to reroute to the cafeteria. It was confusing. Most didn’t know which precinct they were in so it was useless to ask. The elderly especially suffered. They’d planned their day around walking to this school to vote and now they were told some upstart precinct was taking over their space!
Kinda like the way our country is being reshuffled by the next generation…
Voting was quiet most of the day. Early voting in Chicago was high, lines were long and people waited hours to vote prior to Election Day. We all voted early or by mail. But the intrepid still came yesterday.
The cranky 80 something man who only wanted to vote for “Trump”, didn’t care about any of the other items on the ballot
The Nigerian immigrant who was casting his 3rd vote in an American election
The 94 year old woman assisted by her daughter. She didn’t receive her mail in ballot (email and 94 – not a thing) so she dressed up and came to the polling place to cast her vote
2 blind people that had to have the ballot read to them because our audio component didn’t work
A family of 5 Somali women who freely cast their votes
The 86 year old woman who voted for her first time
Out of towners who couldn’t get to their home precincts in time to vote so they went through the process of applying for provisional ballots
10 brand new registered voters! Some were High School students voting with their parents
And all the languages! People from all over the world who settled here, built businesses, sent their first generation children to college so they could have a better life. Or were brought here by their children after they’d immigrated to find freedom and prosperity.
As we handed out ballots and checked addresses I recognized neighbors from my street. When I mentioned my little dog who stands at the fence and barks at falling leaves, they all knew who I was and where I lived.
Maggy uses her voice for democracy liberally…
I spent the day next to Ted. He was quick, funny, smart and interesting. He, along with Keith handed out ballots while I collected applications. It was the perfect position for me because I could leave it to help solve problems, assist the elderly, direct people and eventually read ballots to the 2 blind people that voted. We had lively discussions and gave each other grief. It helped while away the day.
And this time – food delivery!
Donuts and coffee in the morning, pizza for lunch, empanadas for a late afternoon snack and lastly our Alderman came in with a box of Affy Tapples. He’s the new guy in town. We tossed out a 40 year veteran, one of those guys who was a staple in the fabric of Chicago politics. When it comes to aldermen, my motto is,
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”
As much as I can appreciate the value in bringing new voices to the political process, when it comes to having my garbage picked up and my streets plowed in the winter, I’m all for continuity.
Pragmatic is my middle name
One of the things that Ted and I both commented on was how hard it is to mess up the voting process. Between training for this day and serving in it, we both came to the conclusion that it’s almost impossible to do it wrong. Every time something happened to remind us of this I nudged his arm and said,
“See…you just can’t mess this up”
The soberly acknowledged reason is our country’s discriminatory voting history. Free and fair voting processes were won with the blood of innocents. Thankfully today, we have poll watchers and our election judges are empowered to provide citizens with the ability to vote no matter their race, nationality or gender.
We also discussed how few people actually vote! When you think that of all registered voters in America, it’s something like 10% who actually cast ballots???
Shame on us!
To live in a country with such a privilege and not use it? Ask our immigrants from countries where this isn’t the case…It’s unthinkable that more people aren’t exercising their privilege.
I truly believe our country is experiencing an identity crisis. Reminiscent of the 60’s when the Baby Boom generation began to make their voices heard, the Millennial generation is now coming of age. I empathize with my grandparents when their kids began to have a political voice. I take heart in the fact that we survived that identity crisis, I believe we’ll survive this one too.
As I write I don’t know who will win this election. But whoever does, whether it’s the Boomer’s guy or the Millennials’ guy, I am confident that America will survive. It may unfold differently than I imagined, but it will go on. My heart may break over issues I hold dear and that guide my votes, but life will continue. And even with it’s problems, America will still be the best country in the world.
So grateful to live here!
(PS…wearing a face mask for 16 hrs raises your core body temp by at least 15 degrees, just saying)