During the Presidential primaries I had never in my 21 years of voting had an experience like that day. I was moved to tears several times and tried to hide my tears for fear that someone would think I was in an abusive situation, I had lost a loved one, I had done anything but come to the polls and was moved by the experience. When I say I was moved it was not merely because I was proud to be voting in such a monumental election where my choices were between a black man and a woman, but because I knew that at that very moment, if I was uncertain of who I was voting for, as a woman, I could be swayed by what I saw in the line.
I saw so many young people being asked for ID to vote. One girl, very young in appearance, was at the voting booth at its opening time (a little after 7 a.m.) with her twin baby girls in tote. She had them in two separate umbrella strollers with the assistance of another woman, ready to vote. Having twin baby girls myself, I knew that this took extreme effort on her part. She had been motivated.
I live in a racially mixed neighborhood and this was the first time I’d been in line for an election and there were a lack of whites at the poll early in the morning. There were only two in the whole time that I stood in this serpentine line that took me 45 minutes to walk.
Standing in line was memorable in itself. I was there to cast my vote and it was a special day. I was black, I was responsible and today I had a chance at being very important. I felt more important than at any other time in my voting life that I can remember. I could be instrumental in the election of a man who had possibly brought, not just these black people, but these people of all ages to the poll. The possibility of Hillary Clinton bringing women to the polls was there, but the youth have been associated with Barack Obama. To me, that was important.
Several times, one of the election administrators had to ask people in line, “Are you 18?” It is a turning point in the mindset of our young people and the thought of their place in the world. For the first time, they are actively thinking about the election process and what it means to them. This time for the first time in my lifetime, young people were informed and voting. The future, to them, with Barack at the helm, does not seem Dismal. Arbitrary. Parental. There were real possibilities out there that this man could make a difference in their life as well as the movement of America on the worldwide stage.
As a young person who had survived government cheese and hadn’t seen much of the world, I was just at the polls seeking the lesser of two evils and whatever I thought my Mom might like. There were no great candidates, just a cool white man who blew his horn on Arsenio and had “puffed” a little weed. He was hip, he was fresh, had gray hair, but we didn’t notice it, we just knew that this would be the first time, since Kennedy, that the White House might just have someone in it that kept black folks issues in mind.
The one good thing Bush has done as President is reveal to the world what can happen when you pick the wrong guy. The extreme atrocities committed while on his watch are unprecedented and Barack Obama reminded us of a lot of them as he accepted the nomination for the Democratic candidate for the President of the United States. Pass or fail, he is a man who may make mistakes, but he has shown that he will give his best to all of us. I physically shuddered with strength and hope during his speech when he said these words: “Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land … Enough!”
I am not afraid, nor ashamed that I am excited about a black candidate and the possibility of voting him into office. I’m proud that I’m informed about both candidates and still have plenty of reason to vote for him. But most of all, I’m glad that I was able to pull myself together during the primary election, choke back the tears and make history by pushing the button in his favor. And I can’t wait until November 4, when I can follow the orders of our next Commander and Chief and say ”Eight is enough.”