I know it's probably cliche, but I just can't help myself. I just returned from voting and I feel so good! Like most other people, I get very sick of the campaigns and I don't want to hear another political ad for -- well -- ever. But election day, when I get to go to the polling place and stand in line to cast my ballot, is one of the most inspiring events of the whole year.
I don't know if this is true for others, but I always see a bunch of my neighbors there. That adds to the general feeling of well-being that election day provides. Here I am, surrounded by my neighbors, exercising the great privilege and responsibility of living in a democracy. It's like all the cynicism created by my life experiences is just peeled away, and I'm that elementary school kid again, aglow in the excitement of patriotism.
I have a 15-year-old son, and I'm amazed how cynical he is already. He looks upon the electoral process with a surprisingly jaded eye and seems to believe our system is broken beyond repair. But I'm still hopeful that tonight when the returns are coming in and he's watching the pundits with us (which he has to do because it is required for a couple of his high school classes) that maybe in those moments he will see some glimmer of hope, get some sense of why we all invest so much in this process. Cliche or not, the concept that I can actually make a difference in the future of this country and of the world by taking the time to become informed and cast my ballot is pretty heady stuff. Surely that can overpower the cynicism of a teenager for one evening, can't it?