Thursday, October 23, 2008

What is stirring: near and far

... For me the most moving moment came when the family in front of me, comprising probably 4 generations of voters (including an 18 year old girl voting for her first time and a 90-something hunched-over grandmother), got their turn to vote. When the old woman left the voting booth she made it about halfway to the door before collapsing in a nearby chair, where she began weeping uncontrollably. When we rushed over to help we realized that she wasn't in trouble at all but she had not truly believed, until she left the booth, that she would ever live long enough to cast a vote for an African-American for president.

... This vote is 400 years in the making. Pollsters don't seem to take that into account. My 82-year old mother had to be rushed to the hospital last Sunday -- congestive heart failure. One of the first things she asked when the oxygen mask was removed was "Will someone please get me an absentee ballot. I don't want to miss this election." ... This is not only a vote for a candidate; it is a vote for America, the America we heard about from our parents and their parents, across the generations. Freedom and Liberty sound so trite these days, but I remember those words spoken by my Dad on his way to the March on Washington.