Standing in Line

By Linda Nidiffer

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Which to choose McGovern or Nixon? That was the dilemma of my first presidential election. I remember taking my infant daughter into the voting cubicle with me to vote. She is the only one who knows how I voted that day. She and my son voted with me for my next dilemma of Carter or Ford.  None of the choices were particularly good choices but I did not succumb to writing in Alfred E. Newman in either race, but I thought about it.  Now we need to live with Biden or Trump for the next four years and we need to live with the will of the people like adults and not like the spoiled brats that the Democrats of the last four have done. I don’t want to blather on about party politics right now but I want to remind us of something more important no matter who wins.

I can’t remember which election it was, but it was one here in South Carolina and I was waiting in a rather long line in the gymnasium at Merriwether Middle School when someone decided to complain about standing in line. Sometimes the filter from my brain to my mouth malfunctions and I say what I am really thinking. “Well, at least there weren’t any gunmen preventing you from joining this line!” came flying from my sarcastic face. Yes, I got some gawd awful looks. Then I explained that we could be standing in line in Iraq or Iran where at the time there were gunmen preventing just anybody from voting. Then I brought up everyone’s favorite: Russia, where you only get to vote for one person. So, all in all I don’t mind waiting in a piddly line.

Then I brought up a little more history.  I addressed the ladies in the line and asked them if they remembered the names of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  Some remembered and some didn’t.  I told them that I always say a silent thank you to them when I get to vote. If those two women and nameless women like them hadn’t worked so hard for so long I wouldn’t have a line to stand in.  Then I asked if anyone remembered the Jim Crow laws.  I personally didn’t have any experience with that nastiness and neither did the people in my line.  By this time our line was getting close to the actual voting booth, so I shut my mouth.  As we exited the gym a lady thanked me for the lesson.

For me, voting is more than just casting a ballot or making a choice. Voting is being part of our country’s history. It is a sacred duty and sacred responsibility. It is part of what makes us Americans and no matter who wins we absolutely must respect the will of the people and the law of our land— period.