Today is the day when we get to exercise our constitution-given right to flex our voices and grant a vote of confidence on all matter of issues; today is our chance to prove ourselves a stalwart democracy, worthy of the role we've cast ourselves in; today long lines aren't for poor Lucas installments or red toys with large googley eyes; today is Election Day, so stay not your hand of judgment--speak speak speak!
When the dust settles, which I hope it does quickly, there will be plenty to talk about. And unfortunately, about half of the country will be pretty upset. But there is nothing to fear, no matter what the pundits on either side have been trying to tell us. In fact, no matter what happens, we might even have every reason to be hopeful. Because only 41 years ago, a prominent African-American spoke these now famous words:
When our days become dreary with low hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.And very few would have predicted that within one generation, the Democratic ticket would lead with another young African-American (orator and all).
But that fact alone doesn't equate a fairy tale ending. When the last poll has closed, when the last electronically cast ballot has been disputed, what will we do "ever after"? America is among many long(er)-established democracies around the world wrestling with a quickly shrinking globe. The composition of everyone's respective "homeland" is changing, forcing citizens to examine the unintrinsic nature of nation-hood.
In this election, the party lines of the last decade have been criss-crossed and patty-caked. And I think that's a great thing. The Christian Right can not guarantee it's evangelical base to the GOP; the liberal-feminist-elist is not necessarily a shoe-in for the Democrat old boys' club. We will have to work harder--not at defining our selves with a compound epithet, but at defining ourselves by our actual values and our idea(l)s. What makes a die-hard Jesus follower vote for Obama-Biden or a LGBT activist vote for McCain-Palin? Whose agendas are they listening to? And why aren't they staying inside the lines?
These are the questions I'm interested in, mainly because I feel like I cross several boundaries myself. In the meantime, as I try to muster the courage to initiate debate and ask the harder questions, I'm praying for the practical things--that the kinks at the polling centers won't be as paralyzing as those found in the last two election cycles, and that someone will lead election reform with a rousing motto of "paper and pencil, please!"
Happy Election Day.