Tuesday, November 04, 2014

You've come a long way, baby!

From "The Secret Life of James Thurber":
My own earliest memory is of accompanying my father to a polling booth in Columbus, Ohio, where he voted for William McKinley. It was a drab and somewhat battered tin shed set on wheels, and it was filled with guffawing men and cigar smoke....A fat, jolly man dandled me on his knee and said I would soon be old enough to vote against William Jennings Bryan. I thought he meant that I could push a folded piece of paper into the slot of the padlocked box as soon as my father was finished. When this turned out not to be the true, I had to be carried out of the place kicking and screaming.
This morning just after 7:00 I found my polling place's parking lot crowded with pickup trucks and the interior surprisingly busy. Neighbors were greeting each other and some laughter may have bubbled up, but I saw no overt politicking, no guffawing men smoking cigars. All the precinct workers were women of a certain age; I was the only female voter in the place, but it was early and I'm sure more will follow. I pushed a piece of paper through a slot in a padlocked ballot scanner, but only after a card reader scanned my driver's license and I signed my name on an electronic pad. Best of all, no one was carried in or out kicking and screaming. 

(That comes later, after the results are released.)


Bardiac said...

Wow, that's really interesting, the thing from Thurber.

I remember going with my Mom to the polls, which were in the local kindergarten when I was a kid, and standing just outside the voting area while she went in and voted.

For me, it seemed like communion, something that was sort of sacred in that way, but also very private. (I grew up in a church where the congregation went up to the altar for communion, and then exited through a side passage, which always seemed super mysterious to me before I was confirmed. Before confirmation, when my parents went up, I was taught to sit very quietly in our pew and wait, along with my brother.)

Bev said...

Yes: that feeling of sacredness, of something special and mysterious. I have only the vaguest memories of waiting for my parents to vote at a school gym, but that feeling is there.