In which she gets a little sappy

One of the things you might not know about me is that I am way into the politics. I find them stinky and yet so compelling, much like a fine cheese. Local politics, national, and international. All of it. I have facts and opinions and theories and the whole kielbasa, which for the most part I try to keep to myself unless asked because I realize not everyone wants to hear it. I come from a very political family, where you either knew some shit about the world and what was going on in it or you would be at a loss at the dinner table. I have this memory of being in 2nd grade, and I went to school and started an argument with my 2nd grade teacher when she showed the class a clip from Bedtime for Bonzo to illustrate who our president was (and what kind of effed up civics lesson is THAT, by the way) and I told her that she needed to not dumb it down and that if she was going to talk Bonzo, she better not leave out the part about how the human in that movie was also into supporting the Contras in Nicaragua.

That lady never did like me after I did that.

So anyway, election times are always exciting to me. There, I said it. EXCITING. I try to keep the feelings quashed in front of other people so as to seem appropriately apathetic like a good American, but inside, I love voting. Love it. Nordic Boy and I, we read up on the issues, we talk about it at dinner, and when we get our ballots in the mail we sit down and we vote. It’s a big deal in our house.

Maybe it’s because in my family, we didn’t always have the right to vote. My grandparents didn’t have full voting rights under British colonization. When he could, my dad and his brother stepped up to run for office to govern themselves. My dad ended up as mayor of a small city back in the homeland (although he couldn’t, sadly, see Russia from his house) and my uncle was a member of parliament for many years. It’s hard for me to express how poignant that is. It means that I can’t take voting for granted and that there have been times, when in the act of voting, I have choked up a little. Does that sound Pollyanna-ish? Naive? I’m sure it kind of does and believe me I am simultaneously deeply cynical about the whole business too. I know politics is fucked up. I know that I feel like my vote doesn’t matter a lot of the time. But I can’t not vote, and vote seriously, as if it matters, even if in some ways you could argue that it doesn’t. If I didn’t vote, it would be like I was dismissing my entire family, stretching way back for generations. I think about them, and I think about all the people who want to vote all around the world, but can’t. I think about the twisty, windy path it took my ancestors to get me to where I am right now, able to sit in my house, with a ballot mailed to me for my convenience, and how I am able to take a few hours out of my life to access some information about what’s on the ballot, figure out how I feel about it, and then fill in the ballot, easy peasy. Fill them in like it’s nothing. Read up, look up some stuff, fill in some dots, and done. All while in my pajamas if I want to. Something that is so impossible, so difficult for so many, and I just get to do it. No probs. It sort of blows my mind, every time I think of it. I just can’t seem to take this one for granted, no matter how jaded I become.

I didn’t set out to write a sappy post about voting. But there you have it. I am a politically cynical chickee who can still feel a sort of reverence for voting. Roll your eyes if you must. I won’t be upset.

That’s it for now. All this talk makes me want to go watch Bedtime for Bonzo again.

I’m out,
Librarian Girl

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10 comments

  1. if i don’t shed a tear tomorrow while casting my ballot, it will be a friggin’ miracle. and i will be casting my ballot tomorrow for my alien mommy and the alien lady i work with who have stubbornly kept their british citizenships, but who would vote for obama if they could.

  2. Americans get their ballots in the mail? Say what? I thought that was only for the Americans living in places other than the U.S.So, you get your ballots in the mail and then you… mail them back? Or do you just leisurely mark off who you want to vote for, over breakfast or whathaveyou, and then walk them over to a ballot box somewhere? No standing in line and producing multiple copies of identification? I am now officially suspicious of the American voting system.

  3. Most people still go to the polls in person- tis true. But, you can also have your ballot sent to you (after you have registered and proved that you are indeed you and that you do indeed live at the address listed). Then, you mail them back to the elections office, or you can drop them in official ballot boxes around the city. Many states require that you have a reason to vote absentee (you are homebound, etc.) but in four states you can just request to have your ballot mailed to you. Mine is one of those 4.

  4. Voting makes me excited, too. While I’m not into politics as much as you are, I get so emotional when I see large groups of people gathered together for one single purpose: to register their hopes for the future.

  5. I’m planning to wake up early tomorrow, have a well balanced breakfast, and walk over to my neighborhood polling place. I’m so excited/nervous/emotional that I’ll probably not sleep!

  6. I get choked up every time I vote, and we don’t share a whole lotta the same history. I’ve never been jaded about the process – I *believe* it can be fixed, and people – us – will be in charge once again. Yes, we can. Unless we drop out of the system and don’t vote, then it’ll just stay broken.Hey, I’m kinda like Maddi, but I woke up early, voted, then had cinnamon buns for breakfast. I guess that *is* balanced for me.

  7. I’m attributing my grrreat mood today to the democratic process. if I’d read your post before voting, I’m sure I would have gotten a little sentimental in the school gym, too. i wish more americans realized it’s a privilege that wasn’t won easily.

  8. I remember being a party animal as a teenager, but still couldn’t wait to be of legal age just so I could vote. I feel like you sometimes by thinking that my one measly vote couldn’t possibly make a change, but that’s never stopped me.I’m Canadian, but am just as interested in the US politics – my daughter and I have had many a heated discussion regarding the upcoming outcome.

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