I tear up nearly every time. Every time I am handed a ballot and step into that little cubicle I feel the weight of what I’m about to do… of what I am allowed to do. This time was even more emotional.
I had anxiety that the line would be too long, or that the election judge wouldn’t have proof of my residency (I moved to a new city in the last year) and that I wouldn’t be able to vote. Of course that didn’t happen. This is America, that can’t happen. The excitement of the voters was palpable. Everyone was smiling, helpful and hopeful. My neighbors in line with me, even the ones I knew were voting for different candidates were chatting happily and high-fiving each other. The kid in front of me looked about 12, so I asked if this was his first time voting. He nervously said yes and all the other people around us congratulated him. It was a big day.
As my 13-year-old left for school today she lamented, “I have to wait 8 more years before I vote in a Presidential election.” I’m glad she sees voting as a privilege, a right and a responsibility. As my 9-year-old was getting her shoes on for school this morning, she said, “I feel nervous.” I responded, “So do I.” She said, “I’m afraid that Sami will have to move out of America.” WAIT WHAT?! Sami is my daughters’ best friend, Sami is Muslim. I nearly cried when I heard her say this. I explained that would never happen no matter who wins. This is America, that can’t happen. She felt better, but I felt sick that she was worried about this. It was a big day.
As I stood in the narrow voting booth I nearly cried feeling the gravitas of the moment. The three-sided card board barrier perched upon a fold up desk with the little pen attached is the great American equalizer. No matter your race, bank account, job, or religion, we all are equal in the voting booth. Today I felt the weight of the American experiment, civil rights struggles, gender equality, profiling, immigration, reproductive rights, gun control, tax loopholes… all of it. I also felt the personal responsibility I have in it all as I filled in the ovals next to my choices. Our next President and legislators will not be able to solve all of America’s problems, but if you vote, you are part of the solution.
We have been so divided during this election cycle, and after the winners are announced there will be more strife, but today on election day we are united in the agreement that every American citizen should vote. It’s a big day.
I truly believe that no matter who wins we are going to be ok, really we are.
This week I wish you unity, pride, and healing. G-d Bless America.
Jordana Green on election day