Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Feeling Ancient

I did my patriotic duty yesterday morning. Randy and I were voters Number 6 and 7 in the tiny Reno County town of Sylvia.

For the first time, we had the option of using an electronic voting machine. And that's why I am feeling ancient.

I opted for the good, ol' paper ballot.

Then I was kicking myself.

"Man, that would have been great blogging material," I decided on my way home.

Obviously, my old-fashioned choice has not deterred me from writing about it anyway.

I was a little mad at myself, though, and I've spent way too much time reevaluating my decision to go with paper. (Note to self: Read yesterday's blog again: Will this decision matter in a year? Heck, will this decision matter in 10 minutes? Answer to self: No and no!)

But, on the other hand, it is sometimes a little difficult to trust technology in general. We've had a tractor in the shop for the past week. We have been fighting this lemon of a tractor since we got it.

And I've spent the last few days interacting with website people and trying to figure out why my computer and I are wreaking havoc on my part-time employer's website. (No answers yet.)

Even TIME magazine considered all that could go wrong before the last general election: breaking machines, crashing computers, vanishing votes? Is it any wonder I grabbed the black felt-tip pen and carefully filled in the little ovals on my crisp white paper ballot?

Also in my defense: The one electronic balloting station was out there in front of God and everybody. Not that there were a lot of people standing around waiting to vote in Sylvia, population 292.

But I like standing behind those striped red, white and blue curtains in the rickety voting booth and making my choices in private.

I did not take any photos of the electronic voting machine. I wasn't sure whether photography was allowed in the vicinity of the polling place.

And I didn't want to get yelled at by the gruff election worker. It has happened before. I simply tried to move the election book just a hair so I could sign my name more easily.

"Don't touch the book!" he shouted, acting like I was going to rip it out of his hands and tear it into shreds.

"OK, OK! Take it easy. Hey, I'm left-handed. The angle is a little different. It's discrimination, I tell you!" (That conversation was all in my head, by the way. I just smiled politely.)

While I was in the voting booth, I heard the chief election guy tell his two young counterparts that he figured most people would use the paper ballots.

Gosh, I am sure sorry to have proved him right.

But my paper ballot was swallowed into the counting machine, and I have confidence that my vote was be counted.

Isn't that what America is all about?

And it's all about freedom of speech, too. That was important to remember when I got interrupted yet again and raced to the phone for an important phone call, only to discover a sincere, recorded voice telling me for whom and how I should vote. Who knew Sarah Palin would take time to call little old me? Maybe she and I could become BFFs. (Best Friends Forever, for you non-text-messaging-people out there.) I think it would be a rather one-sided conversation if our recent interaction is any indication.

Freedom of speech is important even if it means every television ad seemed to be an attack on this candidate or the other.

Let's put it this way. Even though I am awfully glad for freedom of speech in the good ol' U.S. of A., I'm also glad we will surely get a respite from all that speech for a little bit before they have to blast each other in preparation for the November general election.

Hallelujah and God Bless America!

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