Thursday, November 5, 2020

A Personal Experience of the Election

I just posted this to Facebook, fwiw:

If any Trump supporters read my feed, I'd like to offer this personal perspective on the election.

I worked my local polling place, because I was afraid that the old folks who normally do the job would be afraid to show up due to the virus. Also, I felt a strong compulsion to protect the sanctity of the election...and I confess this concern stemmed from my anti-Trump position (I feel that his side has been working hard to suppress the vote). I clearly remember on November 2, 1972 when President Nixon went on TV and strongly urged the entire country to vote - REGARDLESS OF WHO THEY INTENDED TO VOTE FOR. It gave me goosebumps. It stuck with me, and this paragon of democratic egalitarianism was, again, Richard M Nixon.

So I dragged my sleepy butt to my polling station at (gasp) 5am, and something odd happened. Voters came in who I could intuitively identify as Trump supporters (my district is 50/50), and I made them feel as welcome as I possibly could. I thanked them, sincerely and even eagerly, for voting. I like people who vote. What seems like our most divisive national process is also where we come together as one, as something united and big. It's a delicious paradox.

At one point, a Biden guy, who'd been electioneering just outside the 100 foot border of the polling station, came in to use the bathroom with (I've got to use all caps, because I'm truly ready to scream as I type this) HIS GODDAMNED BIDEN BUTTON ON, and wearing his "VOTE DEMOCRATIC" HAT. I suppressed an urge to rip his arms and legs off. He assumed I was a hardened MAGA. No, I'm a hardened American. That's not how we do it here. HOW **DARE** THIS GUY. I was up at 5am, working 15 hours with a heart condition and a history of asthma amid a deadly pandemic and he's walking around with a campaign button at a polling station like it DOESN'T MATTER???

I know this sounds like me bragging about my fairness and patriotism. Blah blah blah. But it wasn't just me. It was everyone working at the poll (and every other poll, from what I've heard anecdotally). We were absolutely united in purpose, and there wasn't an iota of suspicion or contempt. The Dem workers and the Rep workers got on great, working toward our common goal of fairness and inclusion. Dem and Rep lawyers were there watching, and they sat together and made friendly conversation.

Who knew that America's not like cable TV, or like Twitter?

At the end of the night, a young black democrat and a Republican grandmother sat struggling to make sure the count was right. They weren't jockeying for advantage. They were sweating bullets, after a VERY long day, to make sure it was correct. They helped each other kindly, even lovingly, supportively error-checking each other's blurry-eyed calculations, both gratefully accepting the other pair of eyes. We just wanted to get it right. Every last vote.

There are strident extremists on both sides. But they are a minority. There are fair people who love this country on the other side, whichever side you're on. And those are the people who work elections. I'm actually having trouble typing this because I'm still shaking with fury over the poor Democratic shlub, who simply *forgot* to take off his hat and button, and didn't deserve to encounter an enraged brute. The Republicans didn't even notice him. But I did, and you can bet your sweet ass he slinked out of there with his damned button and hat covered up, and probably peed into a soda bottle for the rest of the day. He'd never have imagined that I voted, eagerly, for his guy.

However this turns out, I can assure you that people at least as nice and patriotic and fair as you ran this election. I felt real gratitude for every Trump voter who voted, even though I think the guy's a plague. "Hate the candidate, love the voters", I guess. That's how we do in this country.

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