2012 Election UPDATE: I need more hankies!!!!!! (in a good way)
I usually get a little choked up when I vote because there is nothing better than living in a country where citizens can choose their leaders. But I don’t think I’ve ever sobbed afterward until today, after I voted in my hometown of Durham, NC. We’re in a blue county in a red state, which, because of Obama, may this year become a blue state for the first time since 1976. So the nation’s eyes are upon us.
But politics aside (as much as possible), here’s what I witnessed. As I arrived at the crowded voting location (we have several and they’ve been crowded since early voting started here last week) I was shown to a parking spot by one of the many election volunteers. About half the volunteers were black, which also reflects our diverse population here in Durham (45% black, 45% white, 10 percent Latino).
As I walked in to vote, there was a big round of applause for a 20-something Hispanic-looking woman. While she turned in her completed ballot, a volunteer yelled: “First-time voter! First-time voter!” That was enough to get me choked up.
But to see all the African Americans volunteering and voting, I kept thinking, what must it be like to see a black presidential candidate on the ballot? And to finally feel you’re a part of the process? Then I remembered, oh, yeah, I’m a woman and haven’t seen a female presidential candidate in the final vote. I do know what’s it like. But not really. I’m a white, middle-class woman, and it ain’t the same. When I went to school in NC in the ’60s and ‘70s, schools were still segregated, and lord knows what else was that I didn’t notice. So though I’m still waiting for a female president, at least I’ve lived to see the day where a black man can run for and perhaps even win a US presidential race. How cool is that?
After I cast my ballot and collected my “I voted early” stickers, I walked out just behind another “First-time voter!” “First-time voter!” this time an older black man. That was enough to keep me in my car for a few extra minutes, until I could see to drive.