“The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls that imprison men because they are different from other men.” (Lyndon B. Johnson)
“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” (John Quincy Adams)
“In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.” (David Foster Wallace)
It’s a cold, bright morning and I’ve just come back from the polls with my son, Sebastian, who voted in his first presidential election. I love the dual sense of gravity and merriment at a polling station. We ran into our neighbors and their children, and a good number of our Harvard students (even at 7:30 in the morning). It felt like a block party. A very angry, red-faced baby was screaming and screaming in his father’s arms, growing rigid with rage, arching his back and flailing around. Every single one of us in line was smiling encouragingly. We were happy to have that baby there, it seemed exactly right. Elizabeth Warren came to vote, too. She looks tinier and younger in person.
I love voting. I think people should vote in person, if they can. It makes a lot of abstractions feel concrete. I think voter ID laws and any other barriers to voting should be strictly avoided. (Especially since voter fraud is a myth.) I know my vote doesn’t really ‘count.’ Nonetheless, I believe it does count, and I think people should get off their asses and exercise their rights and responsibilities by voting. I have nothing profound to say. Just this: No matter what today’s outcome, no matter how awful this campaign season has been, I’m still so grateful to be an American.