Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I can't think of anything more important to do today than vote, if you live in the U.S., of course, and if you haven't voted already.

I live in Massachusetts, where early voting can be done only through absentee ballot, so it was quite an eye-opener to spend the last week in Georgia, where people, including my daughter and her friends, stood in line for hours (in weather far colder than I expected, for the South) to vote. Early voting went on for weeks, and record turnouts are expected. The line in the photograph above extends from the voter registration building far out into the parking lot and then doubles back toward the building and continues inside the building. (There are only 12 voting booths inside, which must be part of the problem. I have not found any explanation of why they haven't added more machines.) You probably have seen this scene on CNN; I did, before I traveled to Atlanta, but it was amazing and inspiring to see it in person. People of all ages, all races, standing together to make their voices heard. It restores one's faith in democracy. 90% of registered voters are expected to vote in the election. Extraordinary.

We went to see "Secret Life of the Bees," which, in addition to featuring a cellist, takes place in 1964, after the passage of the Voting Rights Act. The contrast was deeply moving.

I will be voting in the very blue state Massachusetts, where the outcome is not in question. It will be interesting to see what happens in the red, lately pink, state of Georgia. At the very least, you can get lots of free stuff for voting in Georgia (and other parts of the U.S.): Starbucks coffee, Ben and Jerry's ice cream, Krispy Kreme donuts, reduced admission to Zoo Atlanta, a free meal at Shane's Rib Shack, a party at P. Diddy's restaurant in Atlanta, and, undoubtedly, more.

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