On this day before the 2012 presidential election I’m thinking back to Election Day four years ago. I was feeling rather down that day. I had a lump in one of my breasts and I was scheduled for surgery the following week. I was sad and afraid.
I remember getting up very early that day. I had not planned to vote early but decided since I was already up, I would. My local polls opened at 7:00 AM and I planned to get there are about 6:45 AM, thinking I could sit in my car to wait until the doors opened. So I got dressed.
When I turned the corner to approach the school, my polling place, I was almost blinded by the burst of light. The light were headlights. The parking lot of the school was packed with cars.
I pulled into the parking lot, and had to drive all the way to the back of a lot to find a space to park. I have a handicap parking license plate, but apparently all the available handicap parking spaces were taken long before.
When I got out of my car, I found that the line waiting for the door to open was all along the side of the school, around the corner, and all along that side of the school as well. I took my place at the end of the line. All around me was conversation; happy, cheerful conversation. This alone was a phenomenon. Because in this big city (and probably every other big city) you often stand in line with strangers and nobody says a word to each other. But not so on this day.
The wait was not long before the door opened and the line started to move. Once inside the school door, people were sent in various ways; there was more than one voting district within the school building. I was directed to my polling district’s room. There was a line there, too, although of course not nearly as long as the line outdoors.
Having lived in my home over 12 years at that point, I knew many of my neighbors. And many of them were there, including the neighbor that lived—and still lives–right next door to me.
The line moved very quickly. Could it be because no one had to linger over their choices? In any case, before I knew it I had voted I was walking back to my car.
My mood was completely different than it was when I arrived. I came there feeling depressed and scared. I left there feeling of uplifted and hopeful.
I know I will go through the same experience when I vote tomorrow. And I am filled with joy that tomorrow will be the first time my 18-year-old granddaughter votes: how wonderful for her to cast her very first vote for Barack Obama.
(P.S. Thank God, the lump was not malignant)