In the words of a great actress we all knew and loved…”Picture it”….Jonesboro, GA October 20, 2008 7:45 AM. I drive up to the Clayton County Court House to see a sight I had been dreaming of seeing for quite some time. A long line of black people, white people, old people, young people, skinny people, fat people, fathers, husbands, sons, mothers, wives, daughters, decedents of slaves, those who families who owned slaves, disabled people, and yes on this 45 degree morning, a cold people.
These people were all waiting to do what this nation and I have been talking about for about the last 20 months; cast their ballot for elected officials across the board from President to school board. In front of me was a young lady, a senior in high school whose mother bought her to vote for the first time. The mother already made her mark in history for this election and was merely accompanying her “newbie” daughter. Behind me was another mother-daughter team who would be voting together. Imagine if you will the conversations I heard. In front of me this young lady was talking about everything from the clock on the tower being wrong, to her favorite Christmas song. Behind me (in one ear), talk about kids and how many people had them, and in the other, remedies that the old country folk used that actually worked better than medicine we spend so much money on. I tell you I was a bit overwhelmed with emotion when I thought about the generations in this line that looked forward to this day.
Now please keep in mind I had to be somewhere at 10:00 AM and I get in the line directly at 7:46AM. The polls open at 8:00 and I am thinking, “oh, I should be done no later than 9:30”. Well at 8:00 they open the doors and I see several clipboards passed out and I get excited. I know you may be laughing; but, yes I got excited about everything I saw that day- the door, the counter, the sample ballot…EVERYTHING! I finally make it to the steps where I receive my clipboard and on my clip board was a piece of paper which was I saying I was voting in person absentee and for no reason. I was excited and then I entered the courthouse. Now let me pause and say this, if anyone has went to an amusement park you know that you have the line outside you see, but as soon as you think you’re getting close, there is yet another line. That’s exactly how this voting maze was. At 9:05 I say to myself, “there’s at least another 30 minutes…ugh!!!” I had not even gotten to the counter to get my card for the electronic voting booth. By the way there were only 10 voting booths for the line, which was now down the sidewalk and around the corner. Well right before I get to the door, a young lady says, “we had to call the paramedics, once they are gone we will let you guys in”. I thought to myself, someone knew the history they would be making with this historic election and probably went into shock or something. About ten minutes later we are allowed to go in. A poll worker tells me voting booth number four is all mine.
I smile and I slowly walk to booth number four; I take my yellow card and I insert it in the cardholder so that the machine can read my card and present my ballot to me. The Ballot comes up and there I see it-the ballot that can change not only my life, but also the lives of millions of Americans…and the world. The smile on my face got bigger. I saw my candidate and the smile on my face got even bigger!!! I know you think dang you must have a big head for such a smile to get bigger, but just wait to you see your candidate of CHANGE…you’re head will seem a little bigger too. I then proceed to cast my vote for everyone who I supported. Because I was familiar with the ballot and I knew whom I supported, I was first to be done (Lesson: Do your research BEFORE you get to the polls). I received my “I voted” sticker form the poll worker who commented, “Sir you look very nice to day.” I thanked her put my sticker on and proceeded to my truck where I pulled out my computer and instantly made a youtube video on how I made history with my vote.
I tell you my friends, when I voted for William Jefferson Clinton back during his second term…my first vote, I was excited; but this vote, ON October 21, 2008 that I participated in, I felt more than excited…I was moved. I tell you this experience will forever be marked in my history as the greatest vote of my life & I encourage you to vote early. On November 4, 2008 should you have problems please feel free to email me here at the magazine or if you have questions about early voting I will be happy to help you or at least point you in the right direction. Remember: No Vote =No Voice!