Friday, October 26, 2012

The Unity in Our Divisity

Days like today are gems in Austin- cold breezes blowing, bundling up against fifty degree weather, grey skies threatening a storm. They are autumnal and real and deserve American tributes like drinking hot Starbucks chais while standing in line at a voting poll. Not ones to fight fall's beckon, the mister, baby, and I all made our way down to the local Texas early voting station.

The grocery store location does not hold quite the same ambiance as Baltimore, where a stroll through my neighborhood was the prelude to casting a ballot in the old stone 1920s basketball court. There weren't the beautiful maple leaves blowing around us nor the sweet golden glow that the fall sun brings, but we will take what we can get. Today that was the opportunity to wear a scarf and rub a baby's naked head to keep it warm. Done and done.

Once there, the experience was pretty typical. Stood in line, casted our votes, didn't really know much about 95% of the candidates. There was a little run-in with a man who was overly angry at Peyton for wearing his "Democrat" pin. There were calls being made and pictures being taken for who the Sam Hill knows what. Apparently any sort of political statement is banned in line (as is any picture taking, just sayin'). So to you sir I say- sorry, we didn't know, now please go grab a nice hot tea, take some deep breaths, and chill the freakdizzle out. In the end the pin came off after a much kinder poll worker gave us the info. And so resumed the typical experience.

But this time was slightly special for me. Today I read over the list of names and pushed buttons with a baby snuggled close. A totally unaware, drooling little man who could care less who becomes president as long as he has some fingers to chew on. It was important to me to have him there, to bring him to this first voting experience, to raise him knowing the importance of making his little voice heard.

America has problems, sure, and I have been known to complain about them a time or two. But really, we have a lot of wonderful things going for us as well. We have hope, optimism, and a right to be heard. We go with our ideals and sometimes make the seemingly impossible possible. We are the land of dreams, where a black boy raised by a single mom can become president and rights can be fought for and earned.

Each year I am overcome by our oneness at the polls. I look around, seeing multiple skin colors, men and women, democrats and republicans, old and young, and I get all teary-eyed. I love these people. I love what we stand for. I love that we all came out to vote for what we think is right. And while I don't actually respect some of the positions people believe in, I do respect them as people. We are all human beings trying to navigate life the best we can. We are all Americans fulfilling our civic duty. I'm a woman, honoring those before me who fought tooth and nail for my right to vote. You're a man, honoring those from centuries ago who braved a vast ocean for freedom. We are doing our part, and I really, really love that.

So in the end, I want Declan to see what makes us unique. I want him to feel the unity beneath the political lines and hopefully step away from all the b.s. that is thrown around. I will show him the picture from today, where I hold his tiny body upright as he proudly stands on his strong chunkster legs, donning an "I voted early" sticker tucked away beneath a winter vest. He's my little American, and today there's no place we'd rather be.



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