Almost one week ago today I stood in line at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to vote in the 2008 Presidential Election.
It was a crisp Sunday afternoon in Ohio and early voting lines had not received a lot of publicity in Ohio so I was not expecting to have to wait long. As we approached the board I said to the Mr., “There’s a lot of people voting today. We’re going to have to stand in that line.” The line was coming around E. 30th Street from Euclid Avenue which is not really that long, but again I wasn’t prepared for the wait. As we approached the parking lot we were pleased to see that we would be able to park in the lot and wouldn’t have to go off looking for a spot. As we exited the car we found that there were in fact two lines – one entering from the front of the building (as I described earlier), and another coming from the rear entrance. The latter line is where we began our journey to participate in the making of American history.
As I stood talking with Keith in line I did not feel awestruck, or emotional about the occasion. I have followed the campaign, but as I reflected on this day I think I have intentionally tried to keep my emotions in check. As a black woman in America I have seen the tide change right before my eyes and I guess I have been bracing myself for the worst.
The crowd was mostly black with a few caucasians mixed in, and everyone was orderly as the line continued to snake its way through the board offices. Many of the voters were elderly men and women coming from Senior Citizens buildings or from many of the churches in the area that had provided vans to transport voters.
I marveled at a couple of the older women who were dressed to the “nines” and smiling proudly as they no doubt cast their votes for Sen. Obama. You could see the joy and pride in their eyes as I’m sure that over the last 20 or so months they have chatted about how they never thought they would see this day.
Even after witnessing all of this I was not yet anxious or overly excited. I did recognize the significance of the occasion and snapped a few photos to record this historic event.
I didn’t really think about the act of voting until the following Monday morning as I listened to the Tom Joyner Morning Show and listed to Tyler Perry’s call-in. Perry was so elated and pumped about the prospect of voting – FOR THE FIRST TIME – that he called into the show. I had heard him on the show weeks before talking about the fact that he had registered and encouraging others to do the same, but to hear him in line talking about voting made me take another look at this election.
I thought about my mother who has been so wrapped up in this election and the joy she regularly speaks of and the emotion that I heard in her voice the night Sen. Obama accepted the Democratic nomination. I also thought of my five year old niece who still has not come to terms with the fact that Obama beat Clinton in the primary election. This election is historic in so many ways, but I’m glad it will soon be over.
So whatever your party affiliation or political leanings, take the time out of your busy schedule to vote early or on Nov. 4th!