Monday, November 06, 2006


When I was a child I knew an old lady who got out her best clothes to go and vote. She was a very frugal woman and kept her clothes in mothballs for decades, so her best outfit included a little pill hat with a spotted veil, and she stuck that on her head with a long pin. I remember how mesmerizing all this was: the odd old-fashioned outfit, the smell of mothballs and her great excitement with all the preparations of the day.

She remembered a time when women could not vote at all and she took her right to vote very seriously. Perhaps she knew that people had given their lives for that right.

I could write a long post about the game of voting, about how each of our votes is just one lonely drop seeking in vain for the ocean surf, about how it might make more sense not to bother, about how the system is rigged against certain votes, about the pointlessness of it all, and it would be interesting in an intellectual masturbatory way and perhaps even useful in some longer-term sense.

But what is really important is the fundamental values of democracy. If you believe in those you vote. You put on your pill-hat with the veil and you grab your walking cane and go out to vote. Or you get in your sneakers and put on your baseball cap and go out to vote. If you can't vote, go out and help someone else to get to the polls by giving them a ride or by doing their chores for them as one of my commenters suggested. Democracy. It's not just a word.

And neither is the Supreme Court of the United States just a bunch of people in black bathrobes...