Today as I left the polling station I was reminded how blessed we are to live in America.
Walking past the voters waiting in line, I observed a cross-section of humanity rarely gathered together in one place at one time.
Old and young, short and tall, thin and wide, high-school dropouts and college grads.
A lanky bearded baby-boomer, with faded jeans and a headband, waited patiently in line behind a young businessman in a blue suit and tie.
Elderly widows with canes stood alongside young moms with babies. Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites populated the long queue. There was no intimidation, no rowdiness, no disrespect shown to anyone.
Republicans, Democrats, and Independents; we all gathered together to peacefully share in this most wonderful of American rituals: the opportunity to vote.
There are people all over the world who would risk their lives to come to a place like this. Few places in the world enjoy this kind of freedom.
I personally know a man who, some 25 years ago, spent four days on a raft floating across the shark-infested Straits of Florida to escape the tyranny of Castro’s Cuba so he could live in America.
Most of our world’s people are trapped in some sort of corrupt political system designed to oppress them. They will never know what it means to have a voice in their government.
This election will likely be chaotic. Of course, there will be hiccups. Machines will jam, power failures will occur, some inaccuracies will show up in voter registration lists.
Our system isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn good. Election officials from both parties work long and hard to make the process fair and transparent.
Poll workers will spend long hours at their posts to keep the whole process running smoothly. They deserve our gratitude.
In the next few days we should know the results of the election. Obviously, someone is going to be disappointed. But because we (so far anyway) still live in a civilized society, the losers will take their lumps, study the results, and start planning for the next election.
Predictably, there will be some nut-jobs and rabble-rousers who act out in violent protest if they are dissatisfied with the election results. These people should be prosecuted and marginalized. There is no excuse for their destructive tantrums in a free society.
Thankfully, most of us are still reasonably sane. Most of us realize what a special blessing it is to live in America, whatever the election results may be.
Is everything here perfect? Of course not…and it never will be.
Can we do better? I believe we will.
But I am so thankful to live in a country that gives me the freedom to build my own life, and offers me a voice in the political process that shapes my future.
On Election Day, we all stand as equals at the polls, and we all have a chance to choose the type of future we want to create for our children. That is a beautiful and precious right.
Whatever your political leanings, and whatever the outcome of this election, take a few moments to remind yourself just how blessed you are to live in a country that was purposefully designed to give you a voice.
And if your side loses, that just means you did a poor job of persuading your fellow citizens that you had the right candidate. So suck it up, buttercup!
There’s always the next election.