Tuesday, November 04, 2008
It's done. I voted. I was expecting a long line at the Brittingham Elementary School where I am registered to vote in Milton, Delaware. Upon driving in the parking lot of the school, I saw the line. The line snaked out into the parking lot of the school. Luckily, a big SUV just pulled out of a parking slot and I was able to pull in and park my red Subaru Forester. I placed my white sneakered feet at the end of the line. It wasn't too long before I was engaged in a conversation with some of my fellow voters standing in line. The older couple I was talking to were from New Jersey. They had relocated to Delaware as I did to escape the high school property taxes. Frequently, during our conversation, we noticed that some voters went right into the school. Who were they? VIPs? It wasn't too long until I found out that I was standing the wrong line. I was standing in the A-L line. Since my name is Tipton, that would mean I was to go to the M-Z line. Aha! That's where the other voters were going. So, I take my white sneakered feet out of the A-L line and go into the gymnasium of the elementary school and get in the much shorter line for voters whose names begging with the alphabetic characters M-Z. Inside, I could see how efficient the poll workers were moving the voters through the process. I know it's corny to say this, but I began to get a "rush" participating in the ultimate form of democracy. Again, it wasn't too long until I began talking to a fellow voter in my line. She was a very nice lady about my age. She and her husband were originally from Arizona and have retired to Delaware. She told me that she was the fourth oldest child of a family of fourteen children. She also told me that many of her family had moved to Delaware and now she was with family that also moved to Delaware in their retirement years. She asked me how I felt about the election. I told her that this was a historical day and I was glad I was part of it. She said "Well, I guess I know how you're voting." She told me that she was voting for the "other candidate" (we're being very nice to one another, both of us obviously avoiding getting into a heated political argument while standing in line to vote). Her concern was with my candidate's stand on the Right to Life. I told her that while I don't understand why any woman would want to abort a child I do believe in a woman's right to chose. This nice lady said "While your candidate is eloquent and can give a good speech" (she's obviously been buying into the Republican talking points), "eloquence sometimes masks bad policies." Then she equated Obama with Hitler (although not by name.) She said she had friends in Germany during the Holocaust and the German citizens also had an "eloquent speaking leader." Uh huh. Here we go. I could feel my blood boiling. However, I was determined not to get into a heated discussion in a voting line at the polling place. DETERMINED. I told her that perhaps I would have voted for McCain if he had picked George Romney as his running mate but since he picked Sarah Palin, I could not vote for him. I told her that Sarah Palin, when asked about gay rights, said she had a good friend who was a lesbian. Sarah said "while I would not have CHOSEN that lifestyle, she is still my friend." Sarah later went on to say that she "tolerates" gays. Um. Where do I start? First, I didn't chose to be gay. Second, I don't need to be tolerated. That said, my new found friend in the voting line said it is good to discuss these things. She said friends of hers have always said that one shouldn't discuss politics and religion. She said she disagreed. She said we should discuss politics and religion. I agree with her. What we have to remember is to respect one another and their views while we discuss our differences. That is the only way we learn. Then it was my turn to go into the voting booth. I voted straight (no pun intended) Democratic with one exception. I voted for Michael Castle for reelection as Delaware's lone member of the United States House of Representatives. I like Mike even if he is a Republican. Also, I have the impression that he more than "tolerates" gays and lesbians. After voting, I exited the voting booth. The lady that I was discussing politics with, told me she was pleased that we had a talk and wished me a good day. She seemed very sincere, as I'm sure she was. I also told her that I liked talking to her and wished her well. I was glad I had a conversation with her. I understand her concern. She said she was afraid for this country. I wish I could guarantee her that she need not be afraid. She shouldn't be. Change isn't easy. But I feel in my heart that the change this country is about to experience will bring us into a new age. No longer will we be a red and blue country. Patriotic parts of the country versus unpatriotic parts of the country. We are all one. That is what makes America great. The only thing that worried me today was that I didn't see one young voter. Not one. That worries me.