Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ballots, not Bullets

It's election day in America, do you know where your precinct is? For months now the polls have been analyzed, scandals have come and gone, and innocent people just trying to watch television have been inundated with unbearable political ads. Thankfully, after what seems like the longest build-up to an election ever, citizens from all corners of the United States are finally getting their say. Although Americans normally have lower voter turnout percentages than their counterparts in other democracies (only approximately 56% of the U.S. voting-age population in 2004 compared to approximately 84% in France in 2007, for example), this year is expected to be different. This year, in what would be a true victory for democracy, voters are expected to turnout in record numbers.

I did my part to increase the turnout percentage this morning by showing up at my polling site just after 7:00am. There was already a line out the door and around the building, but with a little dose of Midwestern efficiency, it moved quite quickly. I don't know about you, but I just love voting. I love the idea of a community coming together for a common activity, and I always feel a sense of camaraderie with my fellow voters. Democracy in action is a beautiful thing, and while it might sound a bit corny, I felt so proud of my country and our political system as I filled in the ballot. Plus, I get really excited about receiving the little, red "I Voted" sticker when it's all done. I mean, don't you just hold your head up a little higher when you're wearing it? Yeah, it feels good.

Now we play the waiting game. Though the pundits will try to call the winners as soon as possible, we most likely won't know who won what until later this evening. But I am willing to make one prediction: that Barack Obama will win the state of Minnesota. How can I be so sure? Two reasons: he's leading by a pretty safe margin, and Minnesota hasn't been won by a Republican candidate for president since Richard Nixon in 1972. I guess we kind of got burned on that one and never looked back. But whatever the results, the real winners are the American people. Exercising our right to select our leaders and decide our future? Now that's something we can all get behind, 100%.

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