Friday, October 24, 2008

Let the chips fall where they may-- A day of contrasts

Right up front I want to say hey to my fave blog buddy, Momthatsnuts. I may have some new friends on here, but you my lady, will always hold the title of, "My fave blog buddy". We've been kicking it for a long time now.

Secondly, I want to acknowledge my Blogger buddy Solie. I thoroughly enjoyed your post today. I think those of us that have served our country have a tendency to be super-sensitive to the state of the union...more so than our civilian counter parts. This is strictly just my "2 cents worth" on the subject.

So, I voted today, via the early voting polls. The entire experience was very unusual for me, as opposed to my past voting experiences. I believe this is because of my new association with my new blogging buddies. All of the political jousting that I've participated in lately has really been weighing on my mind.

Anyway, From the minute I arrived at the courthouse, the contrasts of my voting experience stood out to me. First, although I am permitted by the great state of Texas to carry a concealed weapon, I could not enter the county courthouse with it. It was no biggie, I knew the law beforehand, but it struck me as odd when I read the sign as I emptied my pockets and entered the metal detectors. Next, I met two elderly black women who were casting their ballots as I was signing in. They were having trouble using the computerized voting machines and had to have a poll worker explain things. For a one split second, the cynical part of me, wondered who they were voting for. Then I got a proud feeling to be witnessing them exercise their right. I'm sure there was a time in their lives when they couldn't simply walk in and announce that they were there to vote. It was truly touching to watch them. They smiled at me as they passed me to leave.

I touched the screen and configured my ballot the way I saw fit, then I stood there for a minute and just soaked in the whole ordeal. I reflected back to all of the conversations that I've had with each of you...the good, the bad and the really bad. I literally envisioned each of y'alls pictures and certain comments that we've exchanged. Then I hit the "cast my ballot" button.

On the elevator ride back down, I got emotional. I didn't boo-hoo, but I did get a little watery-eyed. I got a rush of pride thinking about what I had just done. I'm still recently retired from the USAF (about one year ago) and my service to this great country was acknowledged today. I didn't have to worry about being executed as I exited the polls, I didn't have to explain myself to anyone and in my mind, those elderly black ladies just thumbed their nose to all the people that may have tried to intimidate them many years ago.

So that's it...my day of contrasts.

8 comments:

Angie ^i^ said...

What a beautiful story about your voting experience today. Thank you for sharing it! =)

OweMe1Cannoli said...

Great post, Paul. I especially like the part where that Solie guy is right up there close to momthatsnuts!

Seriously, I appreciate the shout out very much!!

As for the description of your feelings, I can say that I've had the same sort of rush occur to me. I love to keep my head up in the line to the polls and listen. Some idle chit-chat, some concern for operating the ballot correctly, some people, I can tell, are deep in thought. And each time, since I left the service in 19ahem, I have had the additional thought appear, selfish as it is: "Hey, man, we were *there* so we could all be *here* - I wonder how many great people in this line have done the same thing?" It truly is, as you described, a RUSH! Well said, my friend!

For Angie: Verification word is "uppeser"
Usage: "But uppeser, I'm looking for parking so I can go vote!"

Angie ^i^ said...

hahah Solie... I think that's something new we need to add to this Word Verification thing (its' usage)! Too funny!!!

Word Verification: ohbahmanoate

Usage: Vote for OhbahmaNOAte.

*chuckle*.. okay okay.. I made that one up!

Jinxie said...

Okay ya made me cry, I admit it. Very touching post. I started to tell you how I feel and Solie suggested I put it in a blog. It became bigger than I intended.

I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us.

Thank you,
Martha

Angie: word verification - bilex
I am bilexual = means I speak two lauguages, Kentuckian and blogger.

OweMe1Cannoli said...

You're gonna hate me, Angie, but when I read "obamaoate", I thought of some terribly hazardous chemical, exposure to which causes nausea or unsightly warts.

Word Verification: selly
Usage: "Even when I try to be serious, it looks and sounds selly."

Angie ^i^ said...

Hardy har har! LOL

VoteNovember2008 said...

Paul, I have that same feeling of emotion wash over me when I vote. I love the experience. I love putting on my "I voted" sticker and I wear it proudly! Unfortunately this year, I'm taking the easy way out and using the Absentee Ballot and I have mine all filled out and to be honest, I don't think I'll ever do it again. If the line is long, I'll stand in it. I have missed the experience already! :) VN8

MomThatsNuts said...

OK Paul,
First of yes, we have been kicking it for a long time!! LOL I Feel like Im the "first wife" of bloggerdom...secondly when your giving uncle sam 2 of your sons, you tend to take voting REAL seriously!! I dont want some asshole in charge of things with MY BOYS in there. You made me cry with this one, but then I seem to be doing plenty of crying anyhow...(10 days for Crash, 18 for PFC)
your the BESTEST

Mom