While this year's race for the White House was the most divisive yet, I have never felt as united as I did waiting in line on this past Tuesday morning. Even though I arrived 15 minutes before the polls opened, nearly 100 of my neighbors had already beaten me there. The sight of this line may have discouraged some, but I leaped out of the car and half raced to join my neighbors.
Being a part of the Millennial generation, we're accustomed to digital conversation-the primary mode of conversation being text. If you're not my Facebook friend, I will probably forget your birthday. If I couldn't tweet my frustrations, I don't know how I'd release them! Being able to spend the morning elbow-to-elbow with all of my closest neighbors is a unique opportunity and not one that I was willing to miss!
As my sister and any of my longtime friends will tell you, I could talk a hole into a wall. I like to think I'm getting a little better at listening as I'm aging, but that Tuesday, my chattiness wasn't such a bad characteristic to have.
Once the assigned lines were identified, my husband and I had to split up (seeing how fast my line moved, not changing my last name really paid off!). I ended up standing behind a neighbor who recognized me as “the girl who lives in the house with all of those big dogs.” While I've passed this woman more than once walking our dogs, I did not know anything about her. As the time passed and we continued to wait for our turn to use one of the three voting machines, we shared our stories. By the time our turn had come to vote, we had discovered that we shared a lot more than a neighborhood.
After my ballot was cast, I looped back around to join my husband who had also made a new neighborhood friend. It shouldn't be any surprise that my husband found the one guy in line wearing a South Carolina jacket, who never misses a USC home game and works for a local veterinarian on the weekends. I think we both found our kindred spirit that morning!
I admire the women before me who fought so that my voice could be heard in this election. Not only am I grateful for the opportunity to vote, I am grateful for the opportunity to gather with my neighbors and renew our sense of community. While we may not all see eye-to-eye when it comes to politics, we must remember that we all just want the same thing: we want the best for our families and our community.
by Jordan Slice, Research Associate, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy