For millions of Americans, voting for Barack Obama will be more than casting a ballot in a presidential contest. It will be a greatly emotional and symbolic act. And you don't have to be African-American to feel how special and important this moment is. There have been a number of terrific diaries already that have made this point and there will be many more to come, I'm sure. I want to tell you about how I made my vote special when I voted here in Canada. Come with me to the other side...
I having been living in Canada for some time and my voting district is in Massachusetts. It wouldn't matter much to anyone else if I didn't vote. MA is going to give its electoral college votes to Obama whether I vote or not. But it matters to me a great deal. I wish I could stand in line for three hours and feel the energy of the crowd on November 4. I know I'm part of something much larger than myself but it's hard to feel that when you live in a foreign country.
Canadians, I have to say, are intensely interested in the American election. I walk my dog every morning with a group of women and, on Monday, to my surprise, they were all talking about Colin Powell's endorsement (approvingly). One of the women is an African-Canadian and she and I have, over the last year, developed a ritual of talking about the election first thing. At some point last spring, I realized that one of the fabulous things about the Obama campaign is the way that it has gotten people to see each other in different ways and to interact differently than they might have otherwise. Angie and I have become friends, it's as simple as that.
I received my absentee ballot yesterday and the first person I thought of was Angie. So I decided that I had to share this moment. I filled out the entire ballot with one exception--the vote for President. And then I knew what I had to do. I went over to Angie's house and asked her to fill in the vote for President for me. It was a deeply moving moment for both of us and I'm glad I shared it with someone who cares every bit as much as I do. I know I'll be crying on the night of November 4 and they will be tears of joy. I can't wait to hear all of your stories. This little one was mine.
How are you going to mark this historic vote?
P.S. I've given money ten times during the campaign--and I've gotten a phone call from the Obama campaign verifying that I am an American citizen and eligible to contribute. These people have really been on top of this stuff.