stories from election day

i’ve been following the election via several sites all night…in the process, i’ve come across some incredible stories, and i can’t not share them.

enjoy…and be proud of your country tonight.

from a comment on talking points memo:

My polling place is at the fairgrounds in Southern Maryland, about 40 minutes from Washington, D.C.

This used to be tobacco country, but is slowly being developed, or other crops are grown. We waited until 10:00 to vote, to avoid the lines.

When we got there a 97-year-old Black man was being wheeled out of the polls in his wheelchair. It was the first time he had ever voted in his life.

When he came outside he asked if anyone could give him an Obama button. There were none left at the Democrat’s booth so I gave him mine.

He was so proud and I started crying.

He looked at me and said, “why are you crying? this is a day for glory.”

I am still crying.

from a diary on daily kos:

This 49 year old white descendant of the slave holders of Virginia, born into a segregated South, who experienced a painful desegregation of his school at 7 years old…

took his 6 year old black daughter, descendant of slaves of Arkansas into the voting booth this afternoon…

to vote for the first black president of the United States of America in over two centuries, a son of a white woman and a black man.

The depth of the meaning was overwhelming.

This 49 year old gay man who was beaten for being gay, subjected to aversion therapy to force a change, a convert to Mormonism at 18, who was excommunicated from his faith at 38 because of the love of a man, the man he, for the first time legally, married just days ago,

took their adopted daughter, a child who loves her daddy and papa and is overjoyed at their marriage, into the voting booth this afternoon…

to vote against an constitutional amendment that would take away that right and equality fought for over so many decades.

The depth of the meaning was overwhelming.

“Now Papa?” she asked barely containing herself with excitement.

“Yes” I answered and asked our sweet and amazing daughter to point out Obama’s name. My hand trembled. My heart burst. My eyes welled. Our daughter took hold of my hand, steadied the ballot and we marked “Obama” together.

I could barely contain my heart. Our sweet daughter was giddy.

My eyes. I could barely see.

We marked no on proposition 8 together, the proposition that would take away our family’s equal standing before the law. The proposition that says her family is not valuable. We marked it several times over to make the point clear.

We held hands as we walked out of that voting booth. The import what what we just did overwhelmed me.

I began to cry. My daughter, giddy herself, asked why I was crying.

“Happiness, dear, because I think we just helped change the world”

My husband, I and our sweet daughter walked out. Two of us crying, one giggling.

Wow. Just. Wow.

and finally, from a blog posting at talking points memos’ election central:

I have a confession to make.

I did not vote for Barack Obama today.

I’ve openly supported Obama since March.  But I didn’t vote for him today.

I wanted to vote for Ronald Woods.  He was my algebra teacher at Clark Junior High in East St. Louis, IL.  He died 15 years ago when his truck skidded head-first into a utility pole.  He spent many a day teaching us many things besides the Pythagorean Theorem.  He taught us about Medgar Evers, Ralph Abernathy, John Lewis and many other civil rights figures who get lost in the shadow cast by Martin Luther King, Jr.

But I didn’t vote for Mr. Woods.

I wanted to vote for Willie Mae Cross.  She owned and operated Crossroads Preparatory Academy for almost 30 years, educating and empowering thousands of kids before her death in 2003.  I was her first student.  She gave me my first job, teaching chess and math concepts to kids in grades K-4 in her summer program.  She was always there for advice, cheer and consolation.  Ms. Cross, in her own way, taught me more about walking in faith than anyone else I ever knew.

But I didn’t vote for Ms. Cross.

I wanted to vote for Arthur Mells Jackson, Sr. and Jr.  Jackson Senior was a Latin professor.  He has a gifted school named for him in my hometown.  Jackson Junior was the pre-eminent physician in my hometown for over 30 years.  He has a heliport named for him at a hospital in my hometown.  They were my great-grandfather and great-uncle, respectively.

But I didn’t vote for Prof. Jackson or Dr. Jackson.

I wanted to vote for A.B. Palmer.  She was a leading civil rights figure in Shreveport, Louisiana, where my mother grew up and where I still have dozens of family members.  She was a strong-willed woman who earned the grudging respect of the town’s leaders because she never, ever backed down from anyone and always gave better than she got.  She lived to the ripe old age of 99, and has a community center named for her in Shreveport.

But I didn’t vote for Mrs. Palmer.

I wanted to vote for these people, who did not live to see a day where a Black man would appear on their ballots on a crisp November morning.

In the end, though, I realized that I could not vote for them any more than I could vote for Obama himself.

So who did I vote for?

No one.

I didn’t vote.  Not for President, anyway.

Oh, I went to the voting booth.  I signed, was given my stub, and was walked over to a voting machine.  I cast votes for statewide races and a state referendum on water and sewer improvements.

I stood there, and I thought about all of these people, who influenced my life so greatly.  But I didn’t vote for who would be the 44th President of the United States.

When my ballot was complete, except for the top line, I finally decided who I was going to vote for – and then decided to let him vote for me.  I reached down, picked him up, and told him to find Obama’s name on the screen and touch it.

And so it came to pass that Alexander Reed, age 5, read the voting screen, found the right candidate, touched his name, and actually cast a vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Oh, the vote will be recorded as mine.  But I didn’t cast it.

Then again, the person who actually pressed the Obama box and the red “vote” button was the person I was really voting for all along.

It made the months of donating, phonebanking, canvassing, door hanger distributing, sign posting, blogging, arguing and persuading so much sweeter.

So, no, I didn’t vote for Barack Obama.  I voted for a boy who now has every reason to believe he, too, can grow up to be anything he wants…even President.

karma doesn’t always leave a bad taste in your mouth.

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