On the Vote

At the polling place early, when the mist lifts from the lake and frost paints white the grass, people huddle into their coats and their coffee. People of all sizes and shapes and colors and uniforms wait to vote: a doctor in teal scrubs, two police officers, women in business suits, an older man in a veterans hat, fathers and mothers explaining democracy to their children, a teacher rushing on her way to work. I am not sure if the influence of a single president will make America great again, but the influence of its people will. These are the Americans I know, my neighbors: they look to the elderly. They care for the widow. They adopt the orphans. They feed the strays and shelter them from storms and snow. They pull over when they see a stalled out car and really mean it when they ask if you need help. They leave you chicken soup at the door when you’re not feeling well. They speak up for the voiceless and care for the downtrodden. They leave their own to protect freedoms of people they will never meet. They open doors and buy groceries for strangers. They give their money, their time, and their hearts to make others’ lives better. All of these beautiful, diverse, loving, quietly kind people: they are the America I am proud of. “Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love” (Tolkien).

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