Soul-draining Vote Awards Right to Complain

Kaley Walhart
Staff reporter
The warmth of accomplishment. The bitterness of responsibility. The fatigue of “adulthood.”

I wish those were my feelings when I voted.

I had the opportunity this past election to help fill an obligation of the American citizen and vote a presidential candidate into the 2017
-2021 Presidency. I grabbed the opportunity and voted early (whoever said early voting is faster is a liar. After I voted and election day came up, I had people telling me that they only stood in line for 10-30 minutes.)

I’ll say this, it wasn’t what it’s been cracked up to be. I showed up a little after 5 p.m., right after school. I expected a decent-sized line, maybe 50-65 people. But when I showed up, my “decent-sized line” was shoved out of the way and replaced with a line that made me wonder “Oh my God, do I really want to?” I got in line with the other 80-100 people and stood there. Moving half a foot every four minutes all because I wanted the right to complain when it boiled down kaleyquoteto the next President-Elect.

I stood in line for a little over two hours, because my election site only had five machines. Surprisingly, standing in a line so full of people really opened my eyes. I realized that we were all surrounded by each other, yet hardly any of us made conversation with the other. Instead of making the time fly faster by making small talk, everyone was on their phone.

There was an older woman who started talking to me because she didn’t want to be on her phone. All I could think was “Why won’t she stop talking to me? Let me people watch in peace, please.” I spent the majority of the time letting her talk, I just smiled and nodded. I remember that with each step we took to get inside, I was that much closer to getting away from her — from all of these people.

I listened to a woman and her two young girls bicker over who got to play on the tablet and for how long — she looked absolutely exhausted. And just from looking at her, I knew she needed some sort of relief so I told her that there was a kids area where they could go. She looked so grateful and I felt …  redeemed in a way. I knew the woman’s exhausted face matched my own, and everyone else’s.

I could almost hear the sighs of relief from the people around me when we finally got inside and out of the slowly dropping temperatures.

Those sighs of relief turned into groans of frustration when we all saw that we had yet another line to stand in just to take five minutes to vote. The older woman who was talking to me finally gave in and asked me to hold her place while she got her phone from her car. The woman with the two young girls got a phone call and a sigh escaped her as she answered.

In what seemed like an eternity, I finally got to a machine. Throughout the waiting and the annoyance, that’s when I felt everything at once. As I read the boxes and pressed the corresponding buttons, I felt the warmth of accomplishment. The bitterness of responsibility. The fatigue of ‘adulthood’.

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