A Vote for Something Else

There’s something really great about voting. And I mean the actual physical voting-ness of it. I love walking to, in the case of my district (New York State 10), the high school gym. The lady always has a hard time finding my last name. This time I thought it would be easier for her to place “I” in the alphabet because her last name on her sticker tag read Isreal. But go figure, it took awhile. I am always amazed how little identification it takes (e.g. none) to cast a vote. Since I lost my wallet, and my driver’s license with it, I can’t seem to buy myself anything without a whole lot of sweet talk and charm. But casting a vote, no sweat.

I love the old lever booths. To me these seem foolproof. Only one knob can be turned at a time. And there’s that satisfying crank at the end. The one thing I miss is a sticker I remember we used to get when I voted with my mom. It said, “I voted!” or something like that. No sticker in Brooklyn. I like the rush walking out best, the nods and waves to the old alphabetically-challenged ladies with the rolls and to the other voters in the gym.

New York City was warm today. Warm. A word none of us can hardly whisper these days. I could smell winter coming up from the subway grates. It’s funny how seasons have smells. And winter gets trapped in the subway stations weeks after spring. I’m not green enough to think spring has sprung. I know we have at least half a dozen more numbing spells before it’s safe to send the down coat to the back of the closet, but sit on the stoop and smile anyway.

It’s good to feel a part of democracy on a day like today. Even if it’s a tiny part, and an inconsequential part since my candidate just announced he was dropping out. The scenes of bombings in Iraq and Pakistan flickered on TV as I made a curry on my brand new bottom-of-the-line stove.

Later on NOVA there was an hour about military hospital units in Iraq. It was hard to take. Not so much from the blood and gore (of which there was lots), but from the army policies about treating injured Iraqis. In order to be treated Iraqis (children as well) have to be in danger of losing life, limb, or eyesight. Or they must be a civilian hit by US forces. It was frustrating for the doctors and nurses, and for me also watching the show. Later they showed a mobile unit in Kuwait waiting for orders, unused. Those doctors and nurses were practically begging to be deployed. Meanwhile sick Iraqi’s were getting worse at poorly equipped hospitals and were turned away at the perimeter of the mobile unit.

Another missed opportunity to win the much talked-of hearts and minds. Here are the rich Americans with their smart doctors and their refrigerated blood unable to help people in need. These same people are supposed to be overjoyed at their recent liberation.

More bombs, more grisly statistics from the east today. One can smile into the spring weather, and feel good about voting, but there’s not a lot that can make anything else better.

Today’s stops:



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