It was sleeting so I didn't walk to the polls. I strapped Soren into his car seat instead of his sling and we drove the half-mile to our voting location. I ran from the car into the elementary school, carrying Soren, hunched over to shield him from the freezing rain.
My neighbor, Steve, was one of the voting administrators. I showed him my ID and registration card, explaining that they'd spelled my name wrong (shocker) and would I still be able to vote? He said, "No problem" and gave me a pen to sign the list. Then he passed the voter access card across the table to me and offered a sticker to Soren.
It was still early so there weren't any lines. I balanced Soren on my hip while I touched the electronic voting machine's screen. I got a thrill when my votes were recorded and, although I knew my preferences wouldn't be upheld in every circumstance, I was proud to be a part of the decision-making process. This is my America.
I waved at Paula and Pedro, more neighbors, on my way out. Their 3-year-old daughter was dancing on the auditorium stage while her parents cast their ballots. When she saw me, she stopped and stared with solemn eyes. I hugged Soren tight to me; this is their America, too.
And since then I've been thinking about America and democracy. I've been grateful for God's hand in the forming of this nation, which makes my right to vote a gift from Him. I am grateful for God-given agency and its political counterpart: suffrage. With that right to choose comes the responsibility to choose wisely, to refrain from abusing our power and to keep the good of the whole, not just ourselves, in mind.
I know God's hand directed the founding of this nation. I pray that we will not abuse our powers of agency but will allow Him to continue to direct us.