Rob and I stood in line for over an hour today at the Alameda County courthouse, in downtown Oakland. I had to talk him into early voting, so I felt a little guilty about the wait. But it turned out to be a truly moving experience for both of us, even as cynical as we are.
We saw and spoke with young, first time voters, older voters who were probably voting in their final presidential election (but who waited gamely in line using a walker for all that time). Nine months pregnant voters. Voters who had never voted before because it didn't matter how they voted. Voters who had never voted before because they weren't citizens but were now. Contradicting the theory that Hispanic voters vote more conservatively, we saw many Hispanic families (including extremely patient small children) with Obama and No on 8 t-shirts (8 is the California measure banning gay marriage). We saw African American McCain voters, and white, wealthy-looking Obama voters. And we heard not one, not ONE complaint about the line and the wait. That was amazing.
I cried a little, for real. It was great. Better than anything I've done with a Sunday afternoon in years.