I love America.
I love America so much that I stood in line, bobbing back and forth on my toes to keep my circulation going, at 7 a.m. to cast my very first vote for president in last month's presidential election. I had skipped coffee just to make sure I’d be there at an hour that is unholy for college students. Pink-cheeked with excitement and wind burn, I tried to forget the cold by going over the pros and cons of each candidate one last time. Voting for the next president only happens once every four years, and I wanted to get it right. Ladies and gentlemen, I love America.
But my brave venture out into the world before noon is not why I love this country. Believe me I have never been more proud of an election. The turnout for Decision 2008 was phenomenal; several people got parking tickets that day because there weren’t enough spaces for everyone. The reason why I am so proud of our country, however, has much more to do with awe at my nation’s spirit when things go wrong.
I knew my early start would be worth my while when, on that bright frigid morning, the guy next to me in line muttered, “What is that guy doing?”
I shrugged. What was anyone doing at this hour? I was more impressed that he managed the words in between chattering his teeth with the control of a jackhammer. Nevertheless, I squinted blearily at the row of houses across from my polling location. They weren’t anything special — tiny, single-story houses that were utilized best by poor college students and retired couples who were tired of the upkeep associated with larger homes.
In the yard my neighbor was referring to, it just looked like some guy was taking down his campaign sign now that he’d finished voting. At least, that’s what it looked like until he moved on to the next house and yanked the political sign from their lawn too.
Now I was awake. This man had decided to commit property theft in plain view of a gaggle of wide-eyed voters. For some reason, he did not want anyone to see the sign bearing a local politician's name. Despite the fact that he did not own these houses, he felt he needed to rid the public of the opportunity of seeing the sign and agreeing that the candidate was worthy of office. There had to be some sort of double penalty for theft and trying to influence our opinion.