As I walked down York Blvd to the Pyong Kang Korean Church to cast my ballot for Barack Obama and against CA Props 8 and 4 (among other things), it seemed like any other November day in Los Angeles. Clouds gave way to sun every few minutes, sirens and car alarms in the distance, dogs barked, cars zipped up and down the street...but squinting my eyes and gazing further down the block, I saw an American flag waving in the wind just above the heads of a group of people in a line. As I approached the group and took my place in line, I looked at the people surrounding me. I was one of about three white people in the whole group, and almost no one was speaking English. It was truly magical. For perhaps the first time in my adult life, I truly appreciated democracy.
As I punched in the bubbles on my ballot with my ink blotter mechanism, the click-clacking noises of the other ink blotter pens around me sounded like the pitter-pattering footsteps down the path toward history, the path toward change.
A friend told me this story:
At another polling place a few miles away, a woman had fallen and was bleeding. As the people around her helped her and called paramedics, in a timid but unwavering voice she said, "I'd like to vote first, please."
Driving to the grocery store with my roommate, political signs decorated lawns and sidewalks and billboards and anything to which they could be stapled, taped, hung. I honked and gave a thumbs up to people walking down the street wearing Obama tees or standing on the street corner with "No on Prop 8" signs. I smiled at everyone wearing an "I Voted" sticker because we shared a bond, a bond we'll probably never share again unless we both have dreadlocks or drive next to each other on the freeway in the same rare car.
I'm saving my ballot stub. Someday I'll tell my great nieces and nephews about the historic 2008 election. Hopefully the rest of the story will be a happy one.