I live in a red state, and this morning as I strode into my polling place, this was confirmed as I witnessed a lot of older folks. The crowd was a mixture, but I saw Nascar jackets, hand knitted flowery sweaters, plaid, clothes that in this neck of the woods are often the garb of conservatives. I sat listening to a podcast with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, while everyone else did the nervous chit chat thing. About twenty minutes after waiting in line I finally got to the front of the line corresponding to my last name.
I heard an, “Excuse me”, and a black woman that I had seen vote earlier asked me if her tiny daughter could cut in front of me. It had to have been her daughter’s first presidential election; she couldn’t have looked a bit over eighteen. She had been split up with her mom because of a different last name and she had ended up at the very back of the long line that I was in. I told her absolutely. When the older poll worker asked her for her name and address, the poll worker couldn’t find her on the list. I thought oh crap here we go; somehow this young lady got purged from the rolls. Come to find out, no, the older lady behind the counter had just misheard the young woman. She was on the list, took her ballot, and went off to vote.
I grabbed my ballot and went to find a seat. The area is really small so people are crammed in next to each other, with some holding their ballots up against the windows to use as a writing surface. I sat next to a guy in a Carhartt with a Git-R-Done hat. I whipped through my ballot quickly, with only the slightest bit of hesitation whenever there was only a Republican running unopposed (somehow I always get an irrational twinge that if I don’t fill out all the “answers” the computer will spit my ballot up). As I stood up, I caught a glance of the top of his ballot. He had marked Obama/Biden. I looked at myself (bald head, goatee, and hoodie) and realized that young girl probably thought the same thing about me. I went home feeling good about voting in general.
But my youngest brought the whole thing home and put the absurdity in perspective when I got home. He was dressing in red, white, and blue because that was what the teacher told them to wear. He said to me, “Dad…Mitt Romney must be getting Desperate.” I asked why, and without batting a lash he replied, “Because I saw his commercials on Cartoon Network Yesterday. That should be illegal.” Yes it should.