{ i voted 2000 }

Magdalen Powers

So I had this idea, see? It would be my great, melodramatic fuck-you to American politics. I was one of those people who said that if George Bush the First had gotten reelected, I'd defect to someplace more civilized. Well, as luck would have it, here I am, on the verge of another Bush election, having just gotten laid off from my job, and ... just about to leave for Europe. And I thought to myself: Wouldn't it be great to fly home to visit the folks for a few days, then blast through town on the 7th long enough to take a cab to my polling place, cast my ballot, thumb my nose, and be off to the old country?


There are these tempting things called absentee ballots, for starters. And I wanted to be sure to get my two cents in, delaying fog at SFO be damned. So I sent away for my ballot.

Since the days of Schoolhouse Rock I've been told that voting is a sacred right – secret, private. And I never felt otherwise, really, not even in those little cardboard corrals. A bit undignified – rushed maybe – but nothing more.

But I have to say, there's nothing like voting in the privacy of your own home. You can take as long as you like. You can research ballot measures on the web. You can make sure you've had enough to eat and are in full possession of your faculties. You can sit there with your own pen, at your own desk, and drum your fingers, or pace, or look askance, and, um ... vote for Ralph Nader? And feel good about it? Really good? Better than voting for Clinton (the first time, as opposed to the second which made me feel greasy)? Wow.

I'm not a huge Green party fan. I can sigh and roll my eyes and repeat along with whomever, "A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush." I can even laugh when my best friend, only half in jest, asks if I've "turned into a Communist or something." And I can smile and nod and listen to people who say it's not the right time to vote for a third-party candidate. Who say to wait until the next election. Because I decided that waiting for the right time isn't always the right thing to do. And damn, did it feel great.

It's not just because I'm leaving. I'll be back some time during the next four years, and, while page 4 of any U.S. passport pretty much gives you detailed instructions on how to defect, I don't plan on it (although I did cut up my ballot stub to write addresses on in my luggage tags. Quel horreur). Like it or not, this is my country. But this is the first time I've smiled, and laughed with joy, after casting a ballot. And I don't think it's just because we have the freedom to vote, or because I was sitting at home when I did.

{ next }

{*} Gimme a "V"!
Lance Arthur
{*} We Are the Ones
Rebecca Blood
{*} My Vote Doesn't Count
Sarah Bruner
{*} Close Encounters
Heather Champ
{*} A Message
John Hodgman
{*} The Score
David Hudson
{*} Learning the Process
Greg Knauss
{*} Dreaming of Greener Pastures
Dori Mondon
{*} Three Scenes
Derek M. Powazek
{*} Magdalen Powers is a citizen of the world, though she owns a little pink house in Oregon. She is also {fray}'s copy chief and promises to edit from abroad.
{*} Acts of Faith and Finger Foods
Adam Rakunas
{*} Resident
Luke Seemann
{*} More Than One Vote
Tarin Towers
{*} The Poster Wars
Shauna Wright

Did you vote?