I served as an Election Official again (this time a "promotion" as a Precinct Inspector... in charge of the whole shebang)... up at 4:00 AM to get to the polling place that I was assigned to by 5:30 to start getting prepared to open by 7:00.
By 6:00 AM (even as my invaluable, young clerks and I were still setting up), there was already a crowd of people starting to queue up... young, not-so-young, working class, well-to-do... African Americans, Asian Americans, European Americans, Mexican Americans...
... hell, just AMERICANS...
Some with umbrellas & some with beach chairs... ALL lined up as a living, breathing, 21st Century Norman Rockwell painting.
... & that's what it was.
Just as it was in 2008, my cynical heart was melted beyond description to see such an outpouring of camaraderie... of PURPOSE as I had seen yesterday... all day long.
People waiting patiently to be a TRUE part of the REAL AMERICA.. not the one that the shrill, right-wing demagogues (and the plutocrats who control them) use to divide us... but the kind that finds a common goal... a singular LOVE for our country... the kind that inspires a prodigious sense of DUTY.
It was a glimpse of something that I thought was gone forever... solemnly resurrected in a small middle-school auditorium in North Hollywood.
Families that made sure that their children were with them so they might actively participate in the most important civic responsibility that they will ever hold.
... a 92 year old, near blind Armenian man who was there ONLY to vote for "Mr. Barack"... the Hispanic truck-farmer who was willing to pay a bit more sales tax to help our schools and our State...
And then there were the FIRST time voters.
The newly sworn-in citizens from everywhere one could imagine, the high school seniors and the college students, the "complacent youth vote" that everyone was so worried about not showing up.
... all there en masse.
Some on skateboards, some in wheelchairs... some in suits and some in overalls... nurses still clad in their scrubs.... cops in their uniforms... public workers still in theirs.
We ended up processing an average of almost TWO voters PER MINUTE... ALL DAY... hell, we almost ran out of ballots... & when it came time to empty the bulging ballot box & we started to sort them out, we couldn't help but notice that SAME pattern of little ink-dots.
"Obama", "Obama", "Obama", "Obama", "Obama"...
I finished at 10:30 PM both giddy and exhausted... celebratory and solemn.
This campaign exposed the avaricious hubris of those who felt that their wealth had somehow entitled them to limit (or even terminate) this sacred right as the DEPRAVITY that it truly was... the RESULTS of the election illustrating to them, in no uncertain terms, that their money STILL can't buy our obedience.
I was but a small part of it... as were ALL of the MILLIONS who defied the odds & came out to reassure the entire world that America is AT LONG LAST growing up... and that we are finally ready to rejoin them as an EXAMPLE of what humanity CAN be at it's BEST.