it's up to you now. 1

i voted today.

i’m going to be out of the country on election day, so i took some time to head to my local elections bureau to cast an absentee ballot. it took about an hour to drive there (while we’re in a small county, the east-west routes aren’t well-served by our nation’s highways). when i handed my form in, the very cute girl behind the counter asked “You drove all the way here to vote?”

I only said “I wouldn’t miss it for the world” but for the whole drive back I thought about how much I love proud I am to vote. When I lived overseas, I was active in Democrats Abroad, even having dinner one night with Richard Dreyfuss (there’s a story in there about how he had been kicked out of The Producers that day, but maybe I’ll post that later).

I was always sure to cast my vote, no matter where I was.

Many of us registered in Mr G’s Psych class back at WHS. I remember how psyched I was to be a registered, official voter. Mr B’s history class fed into my affection for politics and living in DC certainly added to it. Heck, I even voted for Mayor Barry when I lived down there (and casting that vote, just a few blocks from RFK stadium, was a pretty cool experience. I was the only white guy for miles!)

I cast my absentee ballot from Mass back in November of 2000 and watched the miscounts from LA, tucked away in a Venice Beach dot com. What a nightmare that night was.

Voting from the UK as a Massachusetts voter perpetuated my Massachusetts tax status. Taxachusetts is the only state which doesn’t have a tax reciprocity treaty with the UK, so because I had voted, I owed Mass a bunch of taxes- they still considered me a resident. I actually let The L fill in the ballot, sharing my American Right.

two weeks ago i was in philadelphia on business. we were stuck working through the weekend, but i had a few free hours and the hotel concierge told me that Bruce Springsteen was playing a free show at the Obama rally. we were supposed to print out free email tickets, but that would have put me in the nosebleed seats so i walked down by the stage and got a spot standing about 50 feet from the stage. the setting was awesome. philly has a cool museum mile (yes, with the rocky steps in the background) and the stage was in the middle of that avenue.

i was pretty psyched because i’d never seen The Boss live. anyway, a few local acts played opening sets. they propped up the governor and the mayor and a local radio DJ. when bruce finally came out, he played an acoustic set of solid songs (thunder road, the ghost of tom joad, the promised land, the rising and ending with this land is your land). bruce, a guitar and a harmonica. it was awesome.

he talked about how important this election is. how important it is that we get everyone we know to vote. and he talked about the dream that is america; how it’s not fading, but the beacon of america as the land of hope is fading and that this election and barack obama can help us to brighten that beacon. that our shine has been tarnished but we can reclaim our place as that place of dreams and opportunity.

he spoke of how wrong things have been for the last eight years. how lying and corruption have come from the candidate who promised to restore dignity to the White House.

but he spoke of hope and opportunity, characteristics which have defined our country for decades.

bruce gives pretty cool speeches with his guitar strumming in the background. i can’t do his words justice, but it certainly put a tear in my and inspired me. he thanked everyone who had worked on obama’s campaign and had worked to register new voters. and he told the crowd to get everyone we know to vote.

i’ve been telling everyone, even the close-minded idiots who want four more years of this crap to make sure they vote. a colleague’s father-in-law recently became a citizen, and i told him to tell his wife’s dad to register and to vote. no matter who he votes for, he should express his opinion and help the process.

anyway, the last thing bruce said to the crowd was “it’s up to you now.”

it is. i’ve cast my ballot. now make sure you cast yours.

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One comment on “it's up to you now.

  1. Reply jon Oct 24,2008 15:57

    Very cool. I recall going to Faneuil Hall for Bill Clinton’s one stop in Boston during the 1992 campaign to see him talk. Place was mobbed, and you felt as though you were witnessing an historical event. Too bad he wasted his last 4 years in office and was more of a Republican, but that’s another story.
    This will be my 6th election in which I’ve voted. So far I’ve voted for the winner only twice. Really better even my record this time.
    I too recall becoming interested in politics because of Mr. B’s class. I remember he kept saying Bush would win, despite what the polls said early on, and he was right. I recall watching the retruns on tv on election night in 1980. My parents were disgusted with Carter but hated Reagan. I want to say my mom voted for 3rd party candidate John Anderson and my Dad probably for some fringe candidate as a protest vote.
    I hate that reagan has become an iconic figure and that the Republicans never waste a chance to bring him up. The guy really started, or at least really accelerated the problem of the widening gap between the rich and poor. F’n fraud piece of shit.

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