I voted yesterday. It took two trips and two hours, but we did it. I had my elderly and infirm mother who had refused an absentee ballot, because voting had never been a test of physical endurance before, along. When we pulled up to the polling place on Saturday, the wait was 45 minutes. We tried the line for a while but then decided to try on Sunday. On Sunday we, along with hundreds of others, opened up the polling place. This time, however, we were prepared. With the expedient of a folding seat cane, she weathered the crowd, the heat, and the multi hour wait. After it was all over, she pulled me aside and said, "You know why I did this? Because it was so close. Otherwise I wouldn't have waited." I don't think I could have been prouder of her.
The hubster, of course, was another story. Decades ago, as nearly newlyweds, we took a grand tour of Europe. We started out in London, then took a train to Folkstone where we boarded a ferry to Calais. Obviously, this was before the Chunnel. All was fine, except that there was nowhere to stow our bags under lock and key, necessitating that we, as New Yorkers, keep our eyes on the luggage. Using one excuse or another, the hub managed to find a pretext to leave. Thus, I spent the whole trip chained to one spot. Little did I know at the time, but I have been minding the luggage ever since. So yesterday, true to form, he kept ducking off the line to have a cigarette, leaving me immured in that wall of humanity. I forgave him, because he is pathologically sensitive to crowds, but only just.
So as I was inching along, husband flown, mother semi-conscious, I had ample opportunity to entertain myself by watching the masses. First, I played "the who are they voting for" game. Some were obvious New College hippie types. As my daughter once described it, "Mom, they don't wear shoes there!" Obvious Obama voters. But after that, it was hard to tell. Except that as the wait dragged on, by dint of eavesdropping on their whispered conversation, I gleaned that the two separate voters in front of me were in the McCain camp. There was a sense of urgency to their desire to vote, as if like the candidate they did not believe all was lost. One confided to the other that many of her Democrat friend were voting for McCain. That is anecdotal. Other than that I could not tell.
No one discussed politics. No one jostled in line. Other people's children were indulged; other people's elderly, cosseted. It's as if we all understood that although we might differ mightily on politics, we respected the right of each and every one of us to our own perspective. We were united as Americans in an orderly, venerable tradition of expressing our wishes via the ballot box. America, great country! So if Obama wins tomorrow, I will give him a fair shot. We always seem to get the leader we need. And as my brave mother says, "No hay mal, que por bien no venga." There is no evil that does not result in good, indeed!