We all know stories about 2004 - good, bad and ugly. I do live in Ohio so our votes were hotly debated and contested. I went early at 6AM and the wait was long and painful. There were people trying to sneak propaganda into the voting facility, there were people arguing with each other about their preferences...and since I had not expected this to take hours I came completely unprepared without a paper, cell phone or iPod (and worst of all, no coffee!). I was subjected to seeing us embarrass ourselves as Americans by doing that oh so american thing of complaining about everything.
As we wound round and round the gym, waiting to vote, I noticed the man in front of me. At first I thought he was just going to work and was voting first as he was in a suit, and that may have been the case, but he had his son with him as well - he couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 and also had a tie on. As we slowly queued, I noticed the man continually, gently pointing out what was happening to his son. The man was clearly born in another country and every moment was an opportunity for him to tell his son how thankful they should be to be able to vote, to explain the power of a vote, and to talk about why they were in America now and how wonderful it was. It made me tear up as I realized that this man was a reminder to us all about the powerful gift that had been given to us.
I don't know this man's name, I have never seen him again, and yet, that day, he was the most American person I had ever seen. Its far too easy to become disenchanted with our election process, it sure isn't perfect. You've heard things so much they become cliche but this man reminded me they are true - people did and continue to leave everything behind in hopes of being able to be true to their inner voice, to feel heard. People have died for this belief of equality, possibility and freedom. Please vote. Please be thankful you can vote. Please honor those who made it possible in their wisdom for us to do so. I don't care what you believe, I don't care what you vote but please please please do it, know what you are voting for and why.