I stood in line this morning at my polling location … and cried.  Not because the line was long, but because I am so grateful to live in a free country!

I cast my vote today without fear for my life, without concern for retribution that I will lose my job, or have my house burned down, or my family tortured because of my political views.

Maybe a safe and free vote doesn’t seem like a big deal … but it is.

At the post office this afternoon, as I was sorting my “take home” mail from my junk mail, the man standing on the other side of the table pointed to the “I Voted” sticker on my jacket.  He smiled through his tears, and said, “Me, too.”  

I returned his smile as he pulled his cell phone from his pocket and showed me a photo of his daughter.  A beautiful young woman in her 20s, she’s an ex-pat living in Cairo, Egypt. The photo showed her standing in front of the Cairo American Embassy, tanks and Marine guards in the background, pointing to the “I Voted” sticker on her shirt.  Her text message to her father said, “I voted, Daddy.  I hope you did, too.”

I cried along with this gentleman who is so proud of his daughter for risking her life to perform her civic duty.  I am in awe of his ability to support her, despite the danger she put herself through to cast her vote.

The women of rural South Africa have been on my mind a lot today.  They’ve had the right to vote for 18 years now, ever since the end of Apartheid.  But having the RIGHT to vote doesn’t guarantee them safe passage to the polls.

Phyllis and I had quite an argument the very last time we saw each other … mostly revolving around women’s politics in both countries … a conversation that still mystifies me.  If you read Ruby’s World, I’d love to hear your opinion on what it was all REALLY about.

I’d be the first to admit we have “issues” in our country … but they still hold us up as a shining example of democracy.  I don’t want to disappoint them.  I voted today.  I hope you did, too.