Before we dive into the pool of post-election analysis, I want to pause and consider the human moments of democracy—our encounters with fellow Americans of all ages on Election Day.
For each of us, these encounters occur on an intimate, local scale: Meeting neighbors at the polling place, waiting with family members in line. These local human moments are repeated countlessly around the country on what Walt Whitman called our “choosing day.”
My first moment began when we left the house with our son, a first grader, on the way to our polling place. He announced, “We voted for president in my class yesterday!” “You did?” I said. “Who won”?
“Bahama,” he answered.
He was disappointed when he learned that his class’s choice would not be meeting us at the polls (he had heard a robocall with Obama’s voice at our home the day before). For him, the best part of voting was feeding my ballot into the tabulator.
Other moments were swift: The campaign worker just outside the polling place limits handing out leftover Halloween candy, running into a retired colleague who was staffing the polls, greeting the staffers who assisted with the various steps in the voting process.
We encountered our Israeli neighbors at the polling place. They became U.S. citizens just last year and were voting for their first time. Their excitement and the light in their eyes are unforgettable.
Later, I received an email from a college senior asking to be excused from my class—he had volunteered to be a poll site supervisor to defend the voting rights for Asian Americans at the polls.
This video captures some human moments of democracy here and abroad.
What about you?
What human moments did you see? What did they mean to you?
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