You know when you get a song stuck in your head and you just can’t seem to shake it out of your brain? That happened to me yesterday, but in a good way. I kept humming the words to Lee Greenwood’s patriotic song:
If that first paragraph sounded sappy, then you better stop reading now because it’s only going to get worse. The Twelfth Article of Faith tells me to obey the laws of my land, but I also think it means that we should contribute to our communities. I served as a poll worker all day in California and have the bags under my eyes and the official flag pin today to prove it. Despite the long hours, the time flew by fast and I scored a few amused grins when my humming turned into an occasional patriotic outburst. It was a great day in America. Polling booths were spread across the nation where citizens could have their voices heard.
From the lakes of Minnesota
To the hills of Tennessee,
Across the plains of Texas
From sea to shining sea,
From Detroit down to Houston,
And New York to L.A.
There’s pride in every American heart
And it’s time we stand and say
I’m proud to be an American. There were plenty of glitches yesterday and I heard endless complaints from voters about why their precinct had been moved to a less desirable voting location or why there weren’t more fancy touch screens, but every single voter who walked through my polling site expressed gratitude for being there.
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can’t take that away.
An excellent example of what this country stands for is the makeup of the poll workers with whom I spent the day. Abdul was born in Afghanistan and moved here with his family when he was young. He was charming, extremely well-educated and fascinated me all day long with stories of his world travels and experiences with other countries’ elections. He wore a suit and tie and took his role as Chief Inspector at the poll very seriously, spending countless hours before and after my appearance at the site.
Mario was a senior in high school who was earning community service hours for graduation by helping at the polls. He was one of the hardest working, most conscientious teenagers I’ve ever seen. His parents, like Abdul’s, came here also seeking a better life for their children. Mike was retired and a well-spring of political knowledge, eager to help, taking a break totaling about 20 minutes during the entire 15 hour work day. My oldest son and I completed the crew and felt honored to be a part of such a wonderful group of Americans who were more interested in contributing to this country than complaining about it.
Sure, our country has a lot of problems, but having the freedom to voice our opinions is a right this country was founded upon and one that should not be neglected. Like Abdul and Mario’s parents, we’re all seeking for a better life here. We may not agree on how it should be done, but we choose to live here because we know at least we can be heard. During our initial training to be poll workers we were emphatically counseled to never turn away a registered voter. A provisional ballot could easily be provided and that all-important “I voted” sticker rewarded. Each voice matters. Each vote is counted.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land…
God bless the U.S.A!