Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Vote

From this morning's paper (a McClatchy-Tribune wire story in the Oregonian), and addressing the vote in Egypt yesterday regarding proposed changes to the Egyptian constitution:

"Whether for or against the proposed amendments, Egyptians were overjoyed at what they considered their first real vote, discounting the decades of rigged polls under Mubarak. Some voters sobbed with happiness, and passers-by offered water and sweets to people standing in lines that stretched for blocks. Families brought children to witness the historic day." *

It is so easy to take our votes for granted. We become frustrated--and with good reason--about the deficiencies in our own system. But Americans, too, have fought and demonstrated and faced hardship to enjoy this privilege. In an era of vote-by-mail it is harder to share with our children the feeling of "going to vote," and I find myself wishing I could share with my daughter the impressions I received when going with Mom to vote at the high school I would one day attend. I marveled at the BIG hallways and the bust of James Madison in the foyer; the gravity of stepping into a polling booth impressed upon me the importance of the affair. My living room may not be as grand as a high school foyer, but Egypt provides me with a reminder never to trivialize the project of filling out a ballot... and next time, I'll be sure to share the experience with my own child.

* Hannah Allam, "Millions turn out for Egypt vote" (Sunday Oregonian, 20 March 2011, p. A8)

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