Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Adventures

This election is like no other before. When Poland had the election that resulted in Tusk being named Prime Minister, I watched it with fascination, believing I was seeing the first election influenced by the Internet and other 21st Century technologies. Whether it was true or not, I enjoyed the story that text messages flew around Poland, saying, "Hide your Grandmother's ID card." For American readers, this is based on the view that the older generation supported a different political party than did young professionals and university students.

Well, we've now had the first 21st Century election as well. "I read it on the Internet" is commonly heard. And certainly the candidates did a good job of filling up our e-mail boxes.

Today is still a very warm day -- anytime when one leaves without a coat, wearing sandals -- November in Minnesota -- that's a very good day. I truly thought I was going to be home all day reading papers, that a meeting had been cancelled, but then yesterday came an e-mail telling me that I was wrong. I had to go into the office for a 2 hour meeting. I started home after the meeting, and due to a snack food truck being parked in the wrong place, I ended up having to take the freeway home rather than the city street I usually do. Not usually a problem, but the freeway was plugged due to a bridge repair project. I finally got off on an exit, only to find that I had chosen the intersection at which someone had crashed into a fence and then taken out the signal lights. (I heard later this resulted in a loss of power to two election sites for a short time.)

After much frustration, I saw high school male students standing on a corner campaigning. What is unusual about that? Well, they were shirtless with slogans and letters painted on their chests. Now that is another unusual sight in Minnesota in November.

I read two papers and then decided to take care of some errands and get some lunch. I reached for my cell phone to call one of my daughters and discovered I had received a text message from my cell phone provider, CREDO, urging me to vote.

Oh, by the way I had voted before the text message arrived. I stopped and voted on the way home, but couldn't complete my errands then because it was recess time for the Catholic grade school up the street. A zillion kids were crossing the street, and it just wasn't the time to try to get to the shoppiong area.

Later in the day -- More papers done! And I went to the KARE-11 web site to see what the news is. I found a very touching story in one of the reporter's blogs. He explained he had been at a school in Minneapolis in which those who are immigrants/refugees went for training about elections. One of the refugees did his practice ballot and then asked, "Where do I sign my name?" He could not believe he didn't have to sign his name on the ballot so that the government would know not only that he voted, but who he had voted for.

This is an important election!!! We need to preserve this freedom that we often take too much for granted.

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