Tuesday, February 5, 2008

How Super Tuesday Made Me Cry

I had planned on voting tonight after dinner but we all woke up early this morning so we made it a pre-dawn primary trip.

The polls opened at 7am here. Since I needed to drive across town to vote, then back to drop the boys at daycare and then travel 25 miles to work and arrive by 8am, we had to be there early. I rushed them through their morning routine, explaining that we needed to go vote for Obama and trying to impress upon them how important this was and why. They know who Obama is from the numerous campaign ads and news reports. I also promised donuts if we were fast and everyone stayed together and held hands.

On the trip over, we counted school buses and dump trucks. Then E started moaning that he didn't want to go on the "Boat for Obama" unless Daddy was coming too. J said he just wanted to see Obama and asked me if he was going to go on the bus with us (??). OK, so maybe not-quite-three is a little young to understand exactly how this primary thing works.

We got to the polling place at 6:45am and I was disappointed to see just a few cars. We got in line behind the only other voters, an elderly couple. At 7am sharp, we were ushered into the next room and I presented my ID and got my voting card. The boys came into the booth with me and I explained what I was doing and showed them where the "VOTE" button was and told them they could push it for me when I was done.

The historical significance was not lost on me as I stood there and read the names on the ballot. As I said the other day, I am very moved by the thought that my children will likely grow up never knowing a world where only white guys get to be president.*

I made my selection and the boys pushed the big green vote button to make it offical. Before we left the booth, I thought about all of the other people doing the same thing right then at the same instant that I was. Voting always reinforces for me that my vote is just as important as anyone else's. Me in my comfy mom shoes, with my noisy kids and my sticky mini-van, on equal footing with the likes of Warren Buffet, Nancy Pelosi and Bill Clinton.

But it wasn't until after we walked out of the booth that it really hit me. Somehow, while we were in the booth for our 60 seconds of history, an entire hallway full of people had lined up. As we walked out, they were coming in in droves and we could see the cars streaming into the parking lot. It was all I could do to answer my boys donut-related inquiries as I filled up with what I can only imagine was civic pride at the turnout.

Happy Super Tuesday, whoever you are voting for.

*Yeah, I know it is just a primary, but don't ruin my moment.


sherry said...

I love it, too. I'll be voting later this afternoon, expecting there to be a HUGE turnout. So amazing that we'll be able to tell our kids about this later, no?

Obama was in CT last night, and had my kids been a smidge older, I'd have been there to listen.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I'm bummed because my state doesn't have a Primary on Super Duper Tuesday.

I'm probably too sick to participate, but I would have tried.

Cass said...

We took the kids with us - on our backs, actually - to vote this morning. Mostly they just liked the stickers we got afterwards :) But I also got a little thrill thinking about the ramifications - it's going to be a different world for them, for sure.

Gunfighter said...


The first few times that I was able to vote, I would always wear a suit and tie... even when I was on active duty in the Marines (when I wasn't out of the country).

My grandparents grew up during Jim Crow, and my dad lived in the segregated south.

Voting means everything to me... and I would get out of a hospital bed to do it.

I'll be voting next week in the "Potomac Primary"... and my youngest daughter will be with me.

K said...

I'm the same way.

In fact, just reading about your "tearing up while voting" experience made me start to tear up...sap that I am.

We vote in 2 weeks and the date is circled on the calendar in bright red. Go Obama!

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I love that you too your kids with you. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job with them. Think of what an awesome story this is going to make when they are older!