Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Citizenship 101

I could not read the paper after breakfast. I had to vote. The polling station is on the church campus. So I threw on some jeans and a sweatshirt and stood in line with 15 or so other neighbors as the doors opened. Stickers and buttons are not my thing, except on election day.
Election days were not always a big deal to me, until we traveled to Congo, Kenya, and Egypt. The transfer of power, especially in Congo and Kenya had violence as its companion. Incumbents can't let go of power, so they steal it back with violence. Looking at the troubled countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq make me all the more grateful for our system, flawed as it is. In one sense, it does not matter who gets elected so long as the people can speak, even if I disagree with the results.
My brand of patriotism is not chest-thumping and flag waving, but the quiet pride to stand in line with neighbors to cast a vote that will be respected and counted.
Now I can get back to work!


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