I left India right after I turned 21 and never had the opportunity to vote there. So, now, in 2006, I voted for the first time ever.
On this wonderfully pleasant fall day in New York City, I waited for the morning pre-work rush to be done and then strolled the four blocks to the polling station.
There was no line. Signed in, and then stood in front of the non-electronic machine. It was gigantic. And a tad intimidating. And very cool.
I pulled the red lever to the right and the turned the knobs to pick my candidates. Then, a quick check and pull the lever back to register my votes. That was it. So easy.
It was such a big moment for me personally that I felt it went by too quickly. Without drama. Without the “ta-da” I somehow expected. But as I walked back, I was ecstatic. I VOTED! That was so cool. I somehow expected the people in the street to congratulate me.
Now, I’ve always had an issue with the two party system here. I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative. That option does not exist. When push comes to shove, I will vote for the social values. But recently, things have gotten easier for me — we have two parties – one is socially conservative and fiscally liberal and the other is socially liberal and fiscally liberal. A no-brainer really.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be part of a very small gathering that met with Hilary Clinton. Damn, the woman is impressive. She is articulate, thoughtful and very smart. She doesn’t have the same charm, the people power that her husband did (too bad Bill didn’t attend!), but she was very, very powerful. I’m very glad she’s my senator — I hope she runs in 2008.
Now, I live in New York, where Hilary and Spitzer will both win by a landslide, but it was still special to be counted. Yes, I was voting for them, but I was also expressing my displeasure with where my country is headed under the current administration. Registering my vote for change. Standing up and being counted.