Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Voting. It seems like such a simple act of civil participation doesn't it? Oh, but it's SOOOO much more than that, and after today it seems like the most precious freedom in the world.

Because today, I took two women from China with me to vote. They are both physicians studying Public Health at Hopkins for a year as part of the prestigious Humphrey Fellowship program.

They were so interested in EVERYTHING, and they took pictures of EVERYTHING. Me standing at the voting machine, my ballot, the line of machines, the people working at the polling place, etc... The polling volunteers were so amused, they all stood to take turns having their photos taken with them, and with me, and so on. My friends were just amazed that you could walk into a church or school and cast a vote that would be COUNTED and have a say in who gets elected to run the country. They both had very strong opinions on this matter and are amazingly well informed on both the candidates and the issues. Better than most Americans I would bet. Afterwards, I took them out to lunch and tried to explain the more complicated issue of the electoral college and the upcoming delegates conventions to them.

For a country with no political freedoms, oppression at every turn, and no voice at all in the selection of the leaders of their country, let alone the laws that those leaders enact, the mere act of accompanying me while I cast my vote made them feel enormously empowered - as if the vote had been theirs.

I hope you voted today - it's a truly precious gift that should never be taken for granted.
posted by Broadsheet @ 5:31 PM  
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