I went to vote on the first day of early voting in NC, October 20. I got there around 9:15am, so I count myself as one of the first in Orange County to vote – but the polling place was hopping, with curbside voting for the elderly and disabled, and a steady stream of folks bustling in and out. Keep in mind that I was voting in the same town where someone viciously vandalized the republican office not long before. I walked up to the building with the twins in tow, one with a freshly broken arm, and lugging the carseat with Grant (you can only lug a carseat – they are so obnoxious and awkward).
A trim, put together woman smiled at me kindly, as I panted my way up the walk, in a wrinkled shirt and yoga pants, with my raggedy children. She asked if I would like to see a sample ballot filled out for the Republican ticket. Now, orange county is the most liberal county in NC, so she was a little against the odds and I’m sure I didn’t look terribly approachable, but she asked anyway. I said no, politely and gave her a smile back.
Inside, a woman let me go ahead of her to wait for the next available agent, who gave the kids Future Voter stickers. Within 5 minutes I was voting as the twins played under my table with R2-D2 and BB8. As they bashed into the table legs and I scolded Eleanor to protect her arm, an older lady waiting to vote said “my name is Eleanor, too! For Eleanor Roosevelt, my father always said.”
As I submitted my ballot and grabbed a sticker of my own, I felt a wonderful sense of unity with everyone else, all of us doing our best to exercise our right to vote and have a say in our own governance. For the first time since the RNC, I felt a sense of calm. I had done the most powerful thing I could have done – I had exercised my right to vote. However the person ahead of me, behind me, to the left, to the right had voted, I also stood up with them and said what mattered to me. I made myself heard.
I’m with her, because there are still people who think women shouldn’t have this experience. And no one knows what women are up against better than a woman. I have a great deal of hope for our tomorrow, because we are a great nation of people filled with compassion. Not everyone, of course, but so many of us do care for each other, even when we don’t agree.
Thank you for voting.