Tuesday, November 4, 2008

American Democratic Process

Henrico Columbian polling line at 6:50am

What a day! My plan was to run this morning. Columbian Center, my polling place, fell at 4.4 miles on my route so I was going to stop, vote, and then run the last 1.7 miles. But, when I woke up, it was raining. Those who ended up in line with me would probably be glad to know that I changed my plan. Instead of running, I took a shower, made a pot of chai, and drove to the polling place.

What a shock as I drove into the parking lot. The line at 5:55am, in the drizzling rain, was all the way down the above parking lane (the lane was only about 1/3 full at 6:50 -- above), turned and crossed two other lanes. I'm guessing there were at least 250 people in line at that point. Spirits were high; no complaints about either the wait or the weather.

If anything good has come out of this incredibly acrimonious and interminable campaign season, it is that huge numbers of people have been motivated to exercise their right to let their voice be heard by voting. BBC just reported that 97% of African Americans in Georgia voted today. There were major concerns about polling stations being overwhelmed by the turnout. Record numbers of people voted early. Today was the longest voting line I've seen since the Carter/Reagan election of 1980. No matter who wins, it is great.

I am -- and have been -- proud to be an American. Yes, we have glaring flaws; no, we do not have a perfect government nor are we a sinless people; yes, Americans can be loud, brash, obnoxious, and ethnocentric. Still, this is a good country. And this election is a great step forward. Who wudda' thunk that my generation would see an African American not only the nominated candidate for one of the major parties but, according to early returns, looking like he will be elected (BBC is already projecting Obama as the winner). That's not a commitment for or against either candidate.

I hope you were able to vote today.

BTW, did you see the Google logo today?

Run well, y'all,
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