The job is done: I voted Green this morning at my local polling place and visited another site while serving, with my son David, as a volunteer Kerry/Edwards poll driver for elderly and shut-in voters. What I saw was heartening: Both places were abuzz with activity. Lines were long and voters were excited. There is an enthusiasm out there that is palpable. Perhaps it bodes positively for the future.
At the balloting sites David and I visited, there were more Kerry poll workers than Bush minions in the electioneering areas. Inside the polling places, volunteers were very helpful in assisting people with the Diebold electronic voting system. (Let’s hope the computer touchscreens won’t screw people out of their votes.)
Thankfully, though rain was predicted for the Baltimore area, so far we have been blessed with sunny skies and comfortably mild temperatures. No doubt this is one reason for the apparently high turnout. But another reason became clear after my discussions with various voters and volunteers: There is a sense that this election is of extreme importance. Even senior-age voters said this vote is probably the most important one they will ever cast. Many people told me they believe the stakes are inordinately high — and yes, they are. But voters are troubled too — no one seems to have a clue about how today will end. Plus, many told me that they are concerned about the integrity of the vote, particularly in Florida; the fear that today’s balloting will produce another election 2000-like debacle is strong.
None of that at Baltimore’s Democratic headquarters. The mood was energetic and upbeat when David and I dropped by for a visit. The boy was amazed by the passion of the volunteers and campaign staffers. One asked my son — eight-year-old political volunteers are exceedingly rare and easily noticeable — if he saw himself running for president someday.
“No way,” David said emphatically, though the boy added that he liked volunteering for the effort and was proud to work for John Kerry. When asked why, his response actually made my eyes moisten.
“Because Kerry has to win,” he said. “And helping people is what Jesus would do.”
That’s my boy.
However today’s vote turns out, it is obvious that all of our lives and those of future generations will be affected by its result. Let’s hope the effect will be for the better.
If you are registered and haven’t cast your ballot, get to it. My son is depending on you to do the right thing.