Well, fellow Kossacks, I've got good news and I've got bad news.
The bad news is that I failed to vote today. I stood in line for about 90 minutes before I just couldn't take it.
I should have brought a better book.
Then, I suppose there is worse news. I wasn't the only one to bail.
You see, it took us about that long to get to the point where we realized how long the line REALLY was. We got close enough to the exit for the people coming out to tell us that they had been in line for FOUR HOURS. ON THE FIRST DAY of in-person early voting in North Carolina. If this is any indication, the turnout here is going to be very very high.
I went to the polling place, the local library, and I couldn't find a parking place. I had to go to overflow parking. Then I approached the polling place. I did so with some trepidation because I basically have two speeds: peace and war and my feelings about this election are pretty intense. I did not want to talk to, see, or even think about Republican'ts. I am getting to the point that I hate them with the incandescent intensity of a thousand white-hot suns.
What makes it worse is that I look like a Republican. In fact, I look like the kind of Republican I hate the most. To be completely blunt about it, I look like something out of Deliverance. I've got four months growth of beard and mane of dirty blond hair to match. If my hair or my beard gets any longer, I'm going to have to buy a Harley and a 1911. Then I'll have to learn to ride. And shoot. Don't ask me why I look like this. It's a long story and one I'm not particularly keen to tell. But anyway, that's how I look.
I look like a Confederate war criminal or someone who has "cyclops" on their business card.
Plus, I've got sensitive eyes. VERY sensitive eyes. I can't go outside, even on a cloudy day, without sunglasses. Also I lose things. Thus, I've settled on cheap sunglasses that you can buy at the local grocery store. Lose 'em? Big deal. Buy another pair. They're aviator style reflective sunglasses.
I don't look like a Democrat.
At least not your typical Democrat.
I decided that I had better moderate this image. I didn't want the wrong kind of people approaching me, if for no other reason than that I don't have a 1911 and just might feel the need for one. And I guess, at a polling place, that would not be a good thing.
So I wore my Harriet Tubman T-Shirt.
I would have gone the whole hog and put on an Obama T-Shirt, just so there would be NO misunderstandings, but some locales consider that campaigning and won't let you with 100 feet of the polling place if you do it.
I figured Harriet Tubman would serve in a pinch. She did for so many others. Maybe should could help me.
As I was approaching the polling place, all sorts of people approached me, but none of the ones I really wanted to see. I wanted somebody with a sample liberal Democratic ballot, because the sad truth is that I don't know whom I should vote for if they don't have a big ol' "D" by their names. You get to the "nonpartisan" votes or the ballot initiatives and I'm just not sure.
And those things matter.
So I wanted a Democrat to approach me.
To my surprise and delight, one did. He was a young black man, early thirties I would guess. He asked me if I would like a sample Democratic ballot. I told him that I would. For a moment, he looked shocked. Then he handed me the ballot, and I saw his eyes steal a peak at my T-shirt.
He literally threw his head back to laugh.
But he didn't laugh. He caught himself.
He was laughing at himself and his prejudices. He'd seen me from a distance and sized me up. But, good soldier that he was, he did his job, because you never know. And then he saw that he had missed the whole picture and couldn't believe his own stupidity. I think he will continue to be a good soldier. I think he will continue to ask EVERYONE who comes through if they want a sample Democratic ballot. And, above all, I think he will make a difference.
My only beef with him is that he lied to me. He told me it would be about an hour's wait.
It wasn't. It was about four hours and I only found that out after 90 minutes, and I bailed. (Don't worry fellow Kossacks, I went on the first day for a reason. I will be back and my vote will be counted).
The Dems are out and they are motivated. The turnout was at least 60 percent black in a relatively affluent neighborhood. It's just one polling place, but from my perspective, people here are fired up and ready to go.
I hope you are too.
I know I am.