Tuesday, November 04, 2008

America's Choosing Day

I hope if you're reading this, you've already cast your vote today! If not, why not? It is important, so go do it! If you're in another country, then I hope you're happier with the outcome of our election this time around.

I wanted to share this, as I've been completely focused on the political campaign this year, it is such an important day in our country's history, and I'm holding my breath, biting my nails, and crossing my toes for luck that a lot of people vote, that their votes are counted, and that when the results are known, our country can move forwards and change what needs to be changed.

As highlighted today by my old college professor Robert Pinsky, former US Poet Laureate, a reminder of this great poem about what voting means in America with all the push and pull, sublime perfection and disappointing imperfections.


- Walt Whitman

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest

scene and show,
'Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor

your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-

loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon's white cones—nor Huron's belt of mighty lakes—

nor Mississippi's stream:
—This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now, I'd name— the

still small voice vibrating—America's choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the

quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous'd—sea-board and inland

—Texas to Maine—the Prairie States—Vermont, Virginia,

The final ballot-shower from East to West—the paradox and con-

The countless snow-flakes falling—(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome's wars of old, or modern Napoleon's:)

the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
—Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the

heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell'd Washington's, Jefferson's, Lincoln's sails.

With a joyful, hopeful heart I cast my vote by early voting on Sunday at our county courthouse. It took all of about a two minute wait in line (I wish it were that easy for everyone standing in those 10 hour lines!!).

And as we waited, next to us another line moved slowly. It was the marriage license/ceremony line. While we waited we observed two gay couples being married, while their exuberant friends and families observed. My husband and I made goo-goo eyes at each other as we always do when we see people getting married. Something about recognizing what a huge step it is, what we believe it means to us, how terribly important and vital it is to human beings to declare themselves in this way.

With a huge grin on my face I enthusiastically said "CONGRATULATIONS!" to them as they passed by us on their way out of the office. They looked up surprised and said "Thanks!" What an immediate, in-your-face example of what we were just about to vote about! This Prop 8 issue on our California ballot, about taking away marriage rights from a certain group of our fellow citizens. I surely do hope that it is does not pass. As my husband said: "Aren't there a whole lot of other issues worth the time, energy and money spent on this? Didn't our state supreme court already decide this issue once and for all?" And as my son asked: "So, Mom, did seeing them get married make you feel like you needed to divorce dad and go get gay-married?" Of course not, that's why I voted no on proposition 8.


jovaliquilts said...

Lovely post!

My daughter took a class from Pinsky a couple years (he was visiting resident poet) -- said he's awesome!

jovaliquilts said...

Forgot to ask -- Did you see Pinsky on the Daily Show?

Laume said...

It looks like Prop 8 is winning. Unlike you, I live in the "other" California. The one where the McCain/Palin signs outnumber Obama signs by.... too, too many. I suspected Prop 8 would pass from the moment I heard of it. I hope there's some sort of way to toss it as illegal, or challenge it. It frustrates and angers me. But I'd expected. Still, my overwhelming emotion tonight is exhausted joy. It's been such a long last eight years and I was so afraid to hope that I didn't believe until it was announced on television - Obama!!!! I can hear the entire WORLD smiling and dancing!