So I voted a while back. I voted early. I wanted to get it done sooner rather than later. In fact, I voted the second or third day that you could vote. I don’t recall the date exactly. All I know is that I went into the booth and filled in the little bubbles beside the name of every Democrat I could find on the sheet.
While I was voting, something interesting happened. I heard a cell phone ring and then a woman’s voice answering it. I was annoyed, at first. Is there no place, I thought, that is safe from having the phone ring? From having to listen to someone else’s business, no matter how boring it might be?
Apparently not. The women began a conversation even while she filled out her ballot. As I say, I was annoyed…but then I heard what she was saying. I realized she speaking to her grown son, and that she was begging him to vote. “It would just take you a minute…I wish you would …I wish you would…”
No deal, it seemed. I could hear him refusing.
The voice something indistinct. I couldn’t make it out. But I guessed he had some excuse. He wasn’t moved by the candidates. Voting really didn’t make a difference. It was waste of time. Something like that.
Finally, she said goodbye and, sadly, hung up.
I wondered if he ever changed his mind. I am guessing he didn’t. There was a flintiness in what little bit of the conversation I could hear.
I finished up my own ballot and took it to be counted. A machine consumed it and dinged. I was voter number 1987 that day. I left.
As I went I wondered. What on earth could move that young man not to vote. I mean, why not? His mother was right. It would take only a moment of his time. In and out. No mess. No fuss. It would have been the easiest thing he did all day. And, moreover, the most important thing he might do for the next two years. He could exercise his right to vote. And, I hope, help get Fascism out of the White House.
But he wouldn’t. He was adamant. And the more I tried to recall the conversation he’d had with his mother, the more I felt vaguely like there was something adolescent about his tone…the kind of rebellion you have in a very young person who would cut their nose off to spite their face…
And yet, I also felt that the person on the phone was no teenager. Something in the man’s tone made me think he was at least in his twenties, and maybe even 30.
Which frightened me beyond words.
For, I wondered, would it be possible for us… for our nation…to lose its liberty not to fear or conquest…
But to indifference, indolence, and the petulance of men and women who somehow ceased their emotional development at the age of thirteen?
It is terrifying thought.
So, please, all of you who read this, spare me from my terrors…