The polls in our tiny town don’t open until 8 am.
What with the time change last weekend and it being a school day, I’ve been up since 4.30 this morning.
Now I’m sitting here, cooling my heels, watching the clock.
Some years ago, I remember being in a great conversation with much more politically knowledgeable and passionate friends. We were talking about President Clinton at the time, and the ups and downs of that administration, when my naive, twenty-something mouth said that it really didn’t matter who was elected President. It’s just a bunch of rich, white, Christian men anyway.
The last twelve years set me straight on that one.
It really really really does matter who’s in that office. I read Richard Schiff’s wonderful article, Marine One, last night:
In eight years we had lost ourselves as a people. I’m thinking this to myself. I think in big sentences sometimes. Ignore it. We have caused the death of hundreds of millions of Arabs for reasons I can’t get my head around. Thousands of American servicemen and women. Tens of thousands of life altering wounds both physical and psychological, spiritual. We entered into another war which just twenty years earlier brought down an empire by being as stupid. We have bankrupted our treasury with these wars and the inane war on drugs while aiding and abetting Wall Street’s theft of our savings and our homes. We have been systematically killing arts in our culture and in our schools while supporting windfall profits and tax breaks for the oil and war cartels. Big sentences. Ignore it. I’ll take responsibility. My fault.
I now know the thing that happens to children that is unthinkable. They think it’s their fault. They shoulda done this; avoided; run; attack; something. I shoulda done something.
I almost voted for Nader in 2000. I thought it really didn’t matter. They’re all the same. Now when I come across that indifference I get a little charged up: “If the other guy won? We would never have been in Iraq; we’d have invested in alternative energy and been leading the world market in the next difference making industry; we would not have continued the systematic destruction of the middle class, the deaths of unfathomably countless Arabs in Iraq (whatever the grotesque number is!)…”
It’s cold outside. Twenty minutes until the polls open in this frost-covered Vermont town. I know my vote for president in this tiny town in this tiny state doesn’t count for much, and I also know it doesn’t matter if I vote first thing or at 6 this evening. Every vote counts, no matter what time it’s cast.
And still, I want my vote in that bucket as soon as possible, lending even a tiny bit of weight on that side of the scale from the start.
Time to start my engine.