On showing up at the polls

After all these decades, all these elections — and I’ve never missed one — I mailed in my absentee ballot for the first time ever a few days ago. It leaves a lot to be desired.

Not that voting absentee isn’t perfectly respectable, or was a capricious decision. This post is being written from the friendly skies of Virgin America en route to Manhattan, which would make getting to the polls in San Francisco tomorrow somewhat of a challenge. But absentee is just not the same.

Showing up at the polls makes a statement: I took all this trouble to come say hello, sign my name, stand in the little booth, schmooze with the neighbors and collect my bright red I VOTED sticker. With absentee you just drop the envelope in the mail. And don’t even get a sticker.

Politics being the messy, frustrating mess it currently is, I know people who are staying home and not voting any direction. Doesn’t seem wise to me. Given the critical issues ahead (Iran, another war? Horrors.  New Supreme Court nominees who’ll send reproductive rights back to the dark ages? Could we please revisit the Citizens United decision?….) I’m hoping staying home doesn’t catch on, unless you’re in favor of war and Citizens United and oppose women’s rights.

I’m looking forward to a stay in Manhattan, beginning just before voting day. But I’m going to miss walking around with an I VOTED sticker on.