Priorities and grace.

I voted on Tuesday. You know, like a decent human.

As I was driving up to my polling place, I saw a woman striding with purpose down the sidewalk. And I thought, “That woman is gonna go git it done at the polls!” I was delighted when I saw her walk up to the church basement where the voting magic was taking place. Up close, she was kind of scary. She moved fast and she was not messing around – she was there to get her democracy on. I liked her.

At 2 in the afternoon, there was a tiny bit of a wait – I had to stand in line behind one person. But it gave me time to appreciate the red, white, and blue apparel donned by the volunteers. Plus? People were voting, even though we didn’t have anything sexy on the ballot. Revolution starts at home, so I researched those water board candidates and was going to make my voice heard, dammit.

I voted. And as I was finishing up, an older gentleman came in. The volunteers took his ID and asked him to verify his address. And this lovely man said, “I have dementia, so this is hard for me. But I think it’s …” And then he rattled off an address.

I left. Well, I left the building but sat in my car and cried.

Last year, after voting? I also sat in my car and cried. I cried because I didn’t have words to express how I felt about voting for a woman for president. I was proud and excited. And I tried to explain to my husband that this vote was for every boy who told me I was “just a girl,” for all those times I was told to shut up or was talked over, for all of it. But I didn’t have the words.

This year, I cried because the last year has been exhausting and scary and sad. But mostly I cried for the sweet man in the khaki jacket, who shared that reciting his address was a challenge. I admire his honesty and his bravery. And I’m so thankful that he saw voting as a priority. He didn’t stay home, even if he didn’t have the words. He went out and did the work to be done.

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  • Reply Suburban Correspondent November 10, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Water board candidates? Do you folks vote on whom you are going to torture?

  • Reply Cyndi B. November 10, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. Voting is such a privilege and it gladdens my heart to see there are people out there who feel that same. Our township didn't have anything to vote on, but I would have been there if they had.

  • Reply Nance November 10, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Voting is a Civic DUTY. It's a Responsibility. I vote in every single election because it's my JOB, dammit. And I see what citizens–especially female citizens–in other nations have to go through to vote, if they even GET to vote.

    Plus–hell be damned sure I am going to have my say, period. And I will say it. Too many citizens screwed around last November and look where we are. I know The Right Person won the popular vote, but I also know a whole lot of people who didn't vote because they Didn't Like/Didn't Trust Either Candidate or Protest Voted Because Bernie Wasn't The Nominee or whatever.

    And here we are.

    Bless that dear man. Bless his dear heart. I'd have cried, too.

  • Reply Becky November 10, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    I can report that voting was up in Charlottesville city by 31%. Yes, there was that little gubernatorial election everyone's talking about, but we also had a city council election. And after the events of this summer, people got out to vote, even though supposedly people don't do that in the rain. I'm not sure who these people are, because I vote every chance I get. I'd love to vote for the water board!

    Bless that man. I've had cried too. I came home and baked a cake though, because no matter which way that election turned out, I was gonna need cake.

  • Reply slow panic November 11, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    I'm just going to be honest with you. I didn't vote. I should have. I'm terrible about researching local candidates — even after being horrified on a daily basis at the political state of this country.

    Bless that sweet man for getting out and voting.

  • Reply Ernie November 12, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Oh, that sweet man! How awesome that he still remembers to vote. I do always vote too, but we had nothing to vote for this time around.

  • Reply Grant Firl November 16, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Why are mail-in ballots not "a thing" everywhere? For elections where physically going to polling places is required, there are at least 3 ways in which one must overcome inertia: going out of one's way to learn about the candidates and issues beforehand, getting oneself to the polling place, and breaking one's workday routine. Mail-in ballots overcome all of these. One can study candidates/issues as much as they want once they receive a ballot (at one's leisure), one doesn't have get off one's ass, and you have like 2 weeks of nights/weekends to perform your duty. Voting without mail-in or electronic ballots is so 19th-century!

  • Reply Green Girl November 20, 2017 at 12:01 am

    I ache for that man, but admire his gumption to keep on keeping on.
    I wept, but because our school referendum got beat 2 to 1 and I'm so demoralized about this town I want to move. *sigh*

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