Yes, I voted for the first time in my 32 yrs of life. I would have loved to have a chance to vote before but never had the right to do so in the United States of America. However, I never had an opportunity to vote any where else, like my home country of Turkmenistan. I've lived int he US since '96 and have been into politics for all my adult life. I think in 2004 I joined the DailyKos community and have been following and participating in it ever since.
Update: I just want to say "Thank you!" to all of you for the warm wishes and words. I am in the middle of watching the game right now (yes I'm a huge hockey fan!) so trying to reply to everyone is becoming a bit difficult. In any case, thank you my dear Kos Family for taking the time to read and congratulate.
In 2004 DailyKos was a place of therapy for me after a terrible loss of John Kerry. It was this community that taught me so much about American political system, its history and possible future. The Sept. 11 of 2001 was the point that really got me seriously interested in politics here, since for better or worse I felt that I was trapped here for the reasons I choose not to discuss, watching the hatred against the Muslims, the fear mongering of Republicans and the start of the drums towards the inevitable and unjust invasion of Iraq. So many things happened since then...
Today, was a big day for me. In February of this year after a long, stressful and tiring process I finally became a US Citizen. It was a very emotional day for me because during the ceremony I had to stand up and say my full name ( which I never use) and the country of my former citizenship. I could barely say those things out loud. I swallowed half of the words and my face was red. I haven't told any of my co-workers where I was really from so saying Turkmenistan, in a courtroom, in front of so many people was not easy. Turkmenistan, if you didn't know, is a former republic of USSR, populated mostly by secular Muslims and many Russian Orthodox Christians. I, however, never claimed any religion, because to this day I consider myself Agnostic but attend our local Unitarian Universalist church.
Fast forward to today, a sunny and beautiful day here in Nashville. All I could think of for the last few days was casting my first vote. I was nervous about not knowing what to do, what to have on me and also about making a mistake in the booth. Thankfully, my experience was a good one. For beginners, there was no line at the voting place around noon today. I wore my Nashville Predators jersey since today was a game day (we play the Washington Capitals) and made my way towards the designated area. After handing my voting card, I found out that I didn't have my signature on it and was asked to sign it and show some form of ID. I had my DL of course but also brought my passport just in case. My drivers license was sufficient and the lady in her 60s handed me another a form to sign. Another lady next to her asked me if I was a predator. I said: "If you mean the Nashville Predator, then yes." They all laughed and informed me that she meant to ask whether I played for the Predators. I laughed loudly as I was still a little nervous and said: "I wish." I then followed up by saying if I would have been quicker, I should have said I really was playing for the Predators, let you take picture with me and sign a bunch of autographs. Then the whole row of the women laughed. I was finally directed to the booth with an explanation of how to work the machine. And then I voted. At the end, I received an awesome little sticker saying that I voted and after thanking everyone I left.
So there you have it folks. My 14 year journey in America towards my first vote had finally happened. I voted for Dem. candidate McWherter for Governor, Jim Cooper for US House of Rep, and Sam Coleman for State Rep.
So for all the talk about the enthusiasm gap, mine was much higher than all of the re/teapublicans combined.
To summarize, voting is a right here but to me, this was also a huge privilege to have a say in the democratic process that makes this country the greatest nation in the world. I hope everyone who reads this, puts all the bickering aside and goes out to vote on or before November 2nd. In addition, I am going to provide assistance to all my friends who can vote to give the the info to find the voting places, explain the process and even drive them to the voting place if I needed to.
Thanks for reading. I hope you vote and use your power to make your point. At the end, that's the only thing that really matters