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I've been around here for years, but today I'm moved to write in my diary.

Let me tell you about my wife's vote.  She grew up in an Eastern European country where there was only one party on the ticket, and usually only one candidate per race.  Since she became an American citizen, early in our marriage some years ago, I've walked down to the polling place with her every election day.

She puts on much nicer clothes than her regular weekday workplace wear (she's a math professor).  Today, I even noticed that she put on perfume.  When we walked the 2 blocks to the polling place at 6:30am today, I hadn't even shaved and she looked like she could pose for a magazine cover.  Either she's trying to pick up one of the elderly men working at the polling place, or she takes her franchise a lot more seriously and somberly than I do.

I watch her reading the ballot carefully, asking questions, and referring to her carefully assembled, handwritten sample ballot.  I remembered how she watched every minute of every debate (even while I was watching the Bears beat the Detroit Lions) and how she actually made notes.  When she asked the lady at the table in the polling place for the "Democrat's ballot" the lady patiently explained that only one ballot is used for the general (after asking how our 13 year-old border collie is doing).

There were some men outside the polling place standing around a truck covered with tea party and right-wing bumper stickers eyeballing my wife as she put her Obama/Biden pin back on her coat, and my wife glared at them as we walked away from the polling place, even while I sort of just looked away and looked down.  I'd never seen any of them before and thanks to my dog, I've seen just about everyone who lives in my precinct.

I thought back to the day my wife was sworn in as a citizen.  I remembered the people in the room that day - so many nationalities and all so solemn and respectful.  How it just didn't jibe with the description of immigrants that you hear from the Right - from those guys hanging around the Toyota pickup with the "Don't Believe the Liberal Media" stickers.  How the people being sworn in that day in the courtroom, my wife included, were probably already better Americans than most of the people who have lived here all their lives.

Man, I'm so proud of her - of Sanja.  And I'm grateful for the way seeing our election day through her eyes has changed the meaning of our political system for me.

Originally posted to Pope Ratzo on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 02:07 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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