I voted earlier today in my small town in Michigan. The building is in my neighborhood – it’s the senior center. The senior center is across the street from the elementary school where my wife teaches. The school is a two-minute walk to the church I attend. There’s a McDonalds across the street from the church which is next door to the volunteer fire department and local pizza joint. I describe a bit of my environment to illustrate the place in the middle of the country that I live. It’s a sleepy, stepford-wives kind of village.
I went to the senior center and waited in line to vote. There was a mix of people in the room:
- One forty year old guy dressed in camp, ready to go out and hunt.
- A senior woman, dressed in red, white and blue.
- A young family with an extremely cute baby was in line in front of me.
- A new friend in my church substitute teaching and walking over to vote.
- A friend I’ve known for fifteen years who hugged me.
It was the cross-section of middle America.
As I got my large paper with lots of candidates names, I was brought back to a conversation our family had with one of our taxi drivers this summer in Nairobi, Kenya. He shared that the government still has pockets of instability as well as tribalism. Many people that live in the city actually take a month to move back to the country with their family to be safe. Even a democratic place can be violent as well as crooked. We saw bribery happening in full view in a government building with our friend and missionary to Kenya, Vickie Reynen.
I write this to remind myself that I can:
- Freely walk into a senior center and vote for anyone in my country to assume a level of leadership anywhere
- Vote without fear of violence
- Trust that my vote will count
- Believe “the people”, us can speak and elect our leaders.
I can’t wait for tomorrow when near billions of dollars worth of advertising is over. I’m sure that of the over 50 times I circled in a box, not all of the people I picked will win. Today, though, regardless of how I feel about my country on the hot topic issues, the deficit, democrats or republicans, what I’m thankful is that I live in a country where I’m free and I have a voice.