Yes, it is true I struck out yesterday in my intended endeavor. But I made some new friends and spent some time outdoors on a beautiful fall afternoon so it wasn’t a total waste of time. But I did not succeed in my original goal of casting my vote in the 2020 election. I confess – with about two hours already invested but a projected possible three to four hours (or more) stretching ahead of me in a long, winding line of humanity, and with the sun going down along with the temperature – I bailed. I admitted defeat – temporarily, vowing to try again another day.
And so I shall. You see, I discovered something yesterday. I think waiting in line to vote could just be the new tailgating! ok, so it’s tailgating except with strangers and no sporting event and no food grilling. Still, there hasn’t been much football this fall and even with the limited college and NFL games there is no tailgating allowed. Enter long election lines to fill the void!
And actually, shortly before I bailed, a large food truck did pull into the parking lot where we were all waiting in line, a captive crowd of hungry potential customers, adding to the tailgate-like atmosphere. (all that was missing was the marching band and an actual football game) It wasn’t enough to convince me to stay however, although the smells coming from that direction were really good.
At some point, we attempted to conduct our own exit poll of sorts, if we could flag people down. However, our question was not “who did you vote for?” it was the much more relevant and pressing question of “how long have you been here?” We wanted to get an idea of how much longer was the wait that awaited us. The news was not encouraging.
And yet people stayed. And I discovered an important truth. If you have to be in a long line for a long time, you are indeed fortunate if you find yourself in line with an optimist. I did. It was my good fortune to find myself next to Mona, my new friend, the optimist. She would have made the remaining hours more than barely bearable, had I chosen to stay. She was great company!
You know, dear readers, for a fast paced, fast food, drive through, no waiting kind of a culture that we are, what I saw yesterday defied all the odds. Hundreds of people, waiting long, giving up their Saturday for the opportunity, the privilege of casting their vote in person. No grumbling, no complaining, just a peaceful passing of the time in a long and winding line, which wove its way back and forth, back and forth across and around a parking lot before it ever came close to the building.
There was a kind of a quiet camaraderie which developed among us all, we, these total strangers thrown together for this brief time (which turned out to be not so brief) But we all shared a common goal. We wanted to cast our vote, to participate in our democracy. We wanted our voice to be heard and we wanted our concerns to be counted. And so we stayed. (well, they stayed)
That parking lot was a picture of the America I know and love. We were all kinds of people by any measure of description – gender, age, occupation, educational background, skin color, religious affiliation, political persuasions and on and on. But all of us shared a common purpose yesterday because we all share something in common – we share this country, our country – this country we all call home. We all value our freedom of life, liberty and our pursuit of happiness. We all want to live in peace and safety.
And so we were all partakers in a common purpose yesterday, that purpose of participating in our own governance. No one that I saw was wearing anything that would give away their voting preference. And that was not a topic of discussion within my earshot anyway. We were just thankful to be free to cast our vote. The fact that so many were willing to wait for so long told the story. We, as Americans, still value our country and the freedoms she continues to provide us.
Standing in line for the two hours that I did, left me filled with hope for our country. Not everybody hates her. Not everybody hates each other. I guess the media was wrong. Maybe a small, vocal minority does not speak for the rest of us? They certainly do not speak for me. I do not hate my fellow Americans, no matter what their skin color nor what their beliefs. That is what freedom is. Freedom to choose one’s way in life, freedom to practice faith or not, freedom from fear of mob rule and oppression.
Maybe America is still the land of opportunity for those willing to accept the challenge she offers of self determination? Let us hope so. And let us do something else, too. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 tells us this,
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
So I have the privilege of praying for my leaders even if they are not the ones I voted for. Kind of like the “pray for your enemies” command found in scripture. But I can rest secure in this knowledge after I have done my duty to vote – it is what Romans 13:1 tells me,
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
Furthermore Daniel 2:21 reveals this,
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them.”
” . . . so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.” (Daniel 4:17)
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)
here’s hoping your voting experience is as uplifting as mine, only with a better outcome in that you actually stay the course and cast your vote! meanwhile, I am still at bat – I will most definitely swing at the next opportunity . . .
sincerely, Grace Day