I had an important experience this morning. This is an experience that I’ve had before. It comes around with some regularity, unless there’s a “special” called to address something that requires immediate attention. At this point, you might be asking what I am talking about. I’m referring to one of, if not, the most important activity all American citizens, eighteen and over, should feel a duty to exercise, voting. Early voting for the mid-term elections began yesterday in my state. For anyone, who might be reading this outside of the United States, our national elections operate on a four-year cycle, with what we call mid-term elections occurring two years after the national. The mid-terms take place to elect national legislators to seats where the terms of incumbents are expiring. Around the country, some state and local political seats are also involved. I’ve been voting in all elections since shortly after I turned eighteen. Teachers, older relatives and others instilled in me the importance of “making my mark.” Well, they didn’t say that exactly. That was a term I saw on the polo shirt of one of my local election commission employees at the poll location where I voted this morning. “Make your mark” is a powerful statement!
As I made my mark this morning, I couldn’t help but think of all the people who had paid the price in blood, sweat, tears, and giving of life, providing me the chance to “make my mark.” As I stood in line, I was drawn to survey several things. One of them was the diversity of people quietly and swiftly moving forward toward the voting machines. Somehow, the room seemed almost like a place of meditation, where everyone held within their heart their personal choices on which they would make their mark. Each was person participating in an event that is just short of being deemed sacred. I also found it impressive that the room had people of all ethnic backgrounds: Asian, European, African, and other ethnicities for whom I couldn’t take a guess. Would it have been this way fifty years ago, I asked myself?
I also found myself looking downward, toward the floor, yes, the floor. I’m probably one of those people, who find their attention victim to the draw of a variety of things in public spaces. This morning, looking down, I was drawn to the variety of footwear, worn by my fellow citizens. There were a few pairs of shiny dress shoes, but not many. The feet were mostly adorned in athletic shoes, work boots, a few flip-flops, and a good smattering of well-worn foot coverings that had seen better days. The footwear seemed almost like metaphors for all the people who make up the citizenry of our country. All can come. It’s our inalienable right. It makes no difference if I can afford to wear a pair of high-priced Christian Louboutin’s or a well-worn pair of nameless kicks from Wal-Mart. We can all reverently go to “make our mark’, indeed make our personal impression on history.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.