Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rock the Vote

Waitress - Live (mp3)
Lights are Changing - Mary Lou Lord (mp3)

I stood in line for a gloriously short 20 minutes yesterday and spent 10 more going through the truly amazing process of pitching in my $0.02 worth into our democratic republic. I voted.

Tennessee, thankfully, is one of many states which permit early voting for any reason. We might be backwards on many things, but early voting isn't one of 'em. So, I took off for lunch and traveled to the lovely city-burb we call Brainerd, and I voted at their community center. The line was all the way down a hallway, around a corner, and a quarter of the way into the gymnasium. When I arrived, I was on the free-throw line.

The line at this particular location, at 11:15 or so in the morning, was made up of two very distinct people: African-Americans and white AARP members. Not to swim in stereotypes for too terribly long, but it didn't take rocket science to know how the vote in this line divvied up.

What I didn't expect, however, was the general mood of the people in line. Somehow, standing in a long line to vote didn't make anyone angry or impatient. We were all having little conversations about nothing, smiling and getting along and happy to exercise our democratic participation.

All this despite already knowing how Tennessee will go to John McCain in the election. (Mondale won Minnesota; Gore couldn't win his own state. Barack never had a chance here.)

That, my friends (a McCain-ism!), is what I love about this country of ours. When you see people of two different minds, all of whom know exactly how something is gonna pan out, standing in line to make their marks anyway. Because you just never know. Because we only get to vote in 20 or so Presidential Elections if we're really lucky. Because, in some teensy miniscule way, every vote really counts. It counts in the national and state tally, and it counts in the feeling you have standing in that line, in filling out that election ballot, in walking back out to your car and knowing you've done one of the few civic duties your country asks of you.

Before yesterday, I would delete all of those emails I was getting from various RNC people -- yes, McCain, Orrin Hatch, Fred Thompson, even Kelsey Grammar have been sending me some four or five emails every day in the hopes of persuading me to get out and vote for them. I read my first one yesterday and enjoyed it thoroughly. I didn't watch Obama's Very Special Show last night. (Some are calling it his "pilot episode. If you believe his campaigning, it might be a great show, but it would constantly be changing the day and time it was shown.)

[At right is what happened to Kelsey Grammar after he started sending out emails for the Republican Party.]

If you want the single most compelling (albeit one-sided) break-down of why this election should go the way it will go, I implore you to read "The Choice" from the October 13 issue of The New Yorker.

Good luck, and be sure to vote. It feels good.

"Waitress" is from Live's 1991 album Throwing Copper. "Lights are Changing" is from Mary Lou Lord's debut, Got No Shadow. Both are available on iTunes and at's mp3 site.


Bob said...

Billy, what exactly did you do in your past life in order to get emails from that crew? I get them from Obama, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Marilyn Manson, and Trotsky's great-grandson.

Billy said...

I think maybe my uncle purchased some cocaine from one of our current Republican congressmen back when they were both in their 20s. Or else it was because of some mix-up I had with a Republican senator in an airport bathroom a few years ago.

Either way, they love me. They really love me.

rockinforvotes said...

I will be out voting next Tuesday for sure!

Anonymous said...

Mary Lou Lord recorded a lot of other stuff before "Got No Shadow." Hate to nitpick, but there it is.