At Peace with the Election

I have not looked at the election results yet this morning–another case of ignorant bliss, guilty as charged. I’ll know in a few minutes who won, yet I am at peace regardless of the outcome.

The president elect has many challenges to deal with, but at least neither of them has spawned a sitcom. No one is laughing at either of the presidential candidates, though many rumors and comedy sketches abound. No one is accusing either McCain or Obama of stupidity or of riding on the family’s coattails.

How lucky we are to live in a society that can change government without violence, where the biggest complaint about election day is the long lines. I went to the polls when they opened, and waited for an hour, but my daughter went after lunch and had only two people in front of her.

Of course, part of the reason for that is the low turnout in most years. I heard yesterday that in some years the list of voters did not fill the first page in my precinct–only 50 names to a page.  But yesterday, three first-time voters, young African-Americans were applauded for their excercise of their rights.  A woman in my office voted for the first time yesterday, as she felt that she needed to protect her rights as an “old” person–she is 50.  I envy her that she has both of her parents, to whom she looks for guidance, discussing how she should vote with her father.  My  mom and I are on different sides of the middle, but we can still talk about the people and the issues and agree to disagree.

The system works, despite greasy wheels, monkey wrenches and the occasional wooden shoe (sabot) in the gears. It’s easy to forget about a machine, like the refrigerator, when it works all the time. YEt it needs the maintenance of working the gears, whether with a pencil and paper ballot, a mechanical lever or an electronic touch system.

I’ll check the news in a few minutes. Either way, I’ll be at peace with the answer.  Unless we can each feel the peace within, there won’t ever be peace without.

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