Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Voting Pride

Although this post will not show up until November 5th, and certainly the results of the Presidential race will be known by then, I am writing it during the afternoon of November 4th, just after returning home from voting.

I have voted in every election, large and small, since I became eligible way back when. I was influenced in this regard very early by, when still a small girl, accompanying my father to the polling place to help him vote. I remember clearly standing in line and him getting his ballot. It wasn't any nifty card the way they are now, either. It was a giant, fold-up piece of paper reminiscent of a paper map. Those of an "age" will remember maps as relics of the era of carbon paper.

We went into the voting booth together. It was, as I recall, much larger than the ones of today, although I suppose that I was so small that I could have misjudged. But given the format of the ballot back then, I suspect it actually was larger. It had a curtain to ensure privacy. We unfolded the ballot together after pulling the curtain closed, and then used the stamp in the shape of an "X" to choose our candidates and positions. In the end, I got to hand the ballot to the polling place person who put it down the slot into the ballot box.

In addition to considering voting a tribute to Dad, I also figure that it isn't often that my government consults with me as to my opinion. On election days, they are specifically asking. I realize that my part in the process is really small, but I still feel important.

California's vote isn't important just for the Presidential race. There are measures on the ballot that also need a Yea or Nay. Whether farm animals deserve more space. Whether pregnant teenagers must notify their parents before getting an abortion. How our power industry is going to develop. How our prisoners, gang members, and drug addicts will be dealt with. And probably, receiving the most national notoriety, whether gay people should have the right to marry.

My feelings are very strong on all of these issues; I will be happy to discuss them on a private level with anyone who really wants to know what I believe and is willing to ensue in a rational discussion, not an argument or diatribe. But here and now, I am going to keep my opinions as asked on the ballot to myself.

* * * * *

The day started off with me frantically clearing my bedroom and studio of extraneous *crap*. I was having my carpets cleaned, barring rain which was fore casted and did overnight but cleared out before the men arrived. We chatted about a number of things as they went about their work, but what I really wanted to know is what was going on at my polling place up on the corner of my block. They told me that the line came out the front door and down the street. Oy.

So after they were done - a little past noon - I started my walk to assert my rights as a citizen. Out my front door, I noted that my garden has gone wild again. My apparent green thumb combined with a reticence to clip anything plays well with the fact that I like my gardens running a little wild rather than well coiffed. But it's getting a bit ridiculous out there. I'm really going to have to trim the roses back a bit so that I can walk across the patio unimpeded.

Out my patio gate and up to the front entrance of my condominium complex.

Down the street by all the buildings in my complex, I walked.

To the corner where Summerville Retirement Apartments is located. The regular home of my poll.

They were more decked out than normal for today's election. A large flag, rather than the little tiny one, hung on their property.

You know that you live in Los Angeles when you see "Polling Place" written in so many languages. One of my favorite things about this city is the diversity of the people who live here. Unfortunately, that is also one of the weak points of the same, in that people are so culturally different, yet compressed into a small area fosters suspicion and misunderstandings.

Many small flags adorned Summerville's landscaping.

Approaching the entrance; I've never seen this notice posted before. I guess in response to the intense interest and extreme opinions that this particular election is bringing forth.

And the lobby of the building, all decked out.

Sadly, most of the old folks were not there. Apparently, I showed up at meal time, and they were in the dining room having lunch. Normally during an election, they line both sides of the hallway, sitting on chairs and walkers and the occasional wheel chair, watching the patriots come and go from the ballot room. It's almost like walking down the red carpet, they have so many opinions about all of us. And trust me, they don't hesitate to express them.

One notable time, I had my behind pinched by an old geezer who had to be in his 80's - lol!

I did not take any pictures of the voting room itself out of respect for all those who were there to express their opinions. Although the line was minimal, every booth was filled, and a sense of pride seemed to permeate the room. The election workers were very busy, and with all the names in the book already marked as having voted, it wasn't that hard to find mine at the top of the page.

After voting, I put my ballot in the box, got my "I Voted" sticker, and walked home. If I go to Starbucks wearing the sticker, I can get a free cup of coffee. Ben & Jerry's, as I understand it, is also offering free ice cream to anyone who voted. But I don't think I'll take either up on their offer. Sometimes participating is, in and of itself, enough of a reward.

Thirty posts in thirty days. This is day 5.


LI Laura said...

I'm so jealous...I didn't get a sticker! I guess they don't send the stickers all the way out to the "boonies." :-(

Joe Ganci said...

I got a sticker yesterday! It was a nice one too. I'm so happy today!

Joe Ganci said...

But I'm bummed about Proposition 8. I have some good gay friends in California who are not happy campers today and on their behalf I grieve too.

Mrs. G. said...

Wow, you're flowers are beautiful!


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