Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Day Blues

I remember being a kid and going with my mom when she voted.  It was always something special, and I couldn't wait to grow up and be able to vote myself.  I've voted in every election since I was 18 and eligible.  I'm proud that I live in a country where I can make a difference, and I exercise that right.  I research candidates and issues, and I make informed choices.  I'm not Republican, I'm not Democrat.  Just a girl trying to figure out what's best for her country.  I like to tell people I'm staunchly independent.

I'm fired up this morning, though.  Totally pissed.

The old crank at my polling place refused to get out the "I voted!" stickers.  This is the third damn election in a row where they haven't had the stickers.  Since I've been through this before, I already know I'll spend the rest of the day fielding the question, "Are you gonna vote?" when I already have.  Everyone else walks around with their stickers, and you can tell at a glance that they've done their civic duty.  It's a point of pride.  "Yes, I care about my country enough to vote."  Plus, you know, sometimes you get free stuff if you have your "I voted!" sticker.

Remember the first democratic elections held in Iraq after Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled?  They inked fingers to show that citizens had already voted.  Broadcast news footage was filled with people joyfully, proudly showing their purple-inked digits.  That's what our little "I voted!" stickers are.  Proof.  Evidence that I do, indeed, give a damn.

I almost took Zoe with me today. I almost took her for the experience and so she could get a sticker.  I was going to give her mine at the end of the day so she could add it to her sticker wall.

But noooooooooo.

I asked politely after I was done voting, looked around, and found no evidence of stickers.  "Excuse me.  Are there any "I voted!" stickers available?"  The lady, who had to be 108 years old, looked at me with annoyance.  I was a fly in her election glue.  She sighed heavily.  "We haven't gotten them out."  And then she stared at me and didn't move an inch.  I stared back.  We stood there, at an impasse, for about 10 seconds before she turned away and asked someone else if she could help them.

I realize that actually voting is more important than the sticker. I get that.  The important thing is that I was able to cast my ballot.

But I want my sticker, dammit!  Maybe I'll just use a Sharpie from my desk and color my index finger.


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