It is election night in These United States, and for the first time in my life, I am a part of this process. I have been old enough to be legally permitted to cast my ballot for some years now (no, I will not specify how many), but was not ready until today to do so. Not that I actually was ready to do so today, either. But I would never be more ready than today, and so it is done. I voted.
As someone who has grown up ever on the outside of government, though always fiercly affected by them, this is a momentous occasion. To me it is not simply the act of voting, which is, honestly, pretty exciting in its own right. It is in the choosing to claim a privilege offered to me in a country which happens to have also offered me citizenship. It is the accepting of that privilege, and the desire to do right by it.
I love that in this election, I can actually know some of those whom I had the choice of voting for, too. It is one thing to be able to claim, I greeted the Queen of the Netherlands at the airport once, or to say, I shook hands with the President of Slovakia (back when he was president). But to say, I have looked at what such and such person did, and dialogued about it in the community, and met that person different times and heard in person for myself what they have to say, how they feel and think on issues of importance and relevance to my local community, to my extended community, even to my international home community--that is something different. And then to voice my opinion; do I want them to continue their mission? To continue working in my service, in the service of the people and localities around me? Who do I choose to shape my world, and who do I set in place to do that shaping?
These are new experiences.
I like the idea that this does not have to be a choice of life or death. I like that I can vote in peace. I like not having to wonder if after tonight there will still be a government or the same country at all. I like that there are so many reasons I can determine who I wish to vote for--did they do that thing i wanted them to? do they believe in my preferred form of government? (which if i may say--it is interesting that perhaps it is not always best to choose your preferred form of government. not all government is good for all places. Hmmm. easy to say when you look somewhere else and think--they shouldn't do that kind of government there! but when you have to look at your own world and say they shouldn't do my kind of government here.... that's funny.)
I like that I am sitting outside a cafe right now, my booted feet propped up on a fire pit, gloved hands typing this and spiced hot chocolate next to me, and i can watch the results come in on my free wifi to this device i'm using. I like that it is peaceful and quiet on such a big night here.
I have no idea what to expect or even what really to want, because who can ever possibly predict what the passing of the moon and the sun will bring. But I am proud of myself tonight for finally taking part in government; for accepting a privilege and for taking ownership over something. And I will sleep well for that reason alone.