Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Polling Place of My Dreams

Yesterday, Voting Day, I moseyed across the street to a Korean church and followed the signs to my polling place. The large room had a stuffy feeling because so many people were there as volunteers or to vote.

First I was directed to a table by a middle aged Latino man. There an older Korean lady looked at my ID and directed me to another table. At the second table a young Latina woman directed me back to the first table. We figured out the problem; my license has my old address on it. We exchanged smiles as we got things sorted out, I signed in the book, and went on to an elderly Latina woman who I know from her active presence in the neighborhood. Armed with my ballot and her warm encouragement, I used the Ink-A-Vote to do my civic duty. Then a Chicano teenager helped me feed my ballot into the processing machine and gave me my "I Voted" sticker.

Instead of organizing into suburban enclaves according to ethnic group, the diverse residents of my neighborhood mingle in stores, on sidewalks, and in polling places. This is my favorite thing about living in Central Los Angeles. Sadly I think a lot of the diversity that I'm reveling in results from people's low incomes; maybe lots of them would prefer to be living out in the San Gabriel Valley. But I see in my neighborhood a vision of a future United States that embraces population density, that embraces difference, that does not prefer to isolate children in exurban bunkers connected only by trails of SUV exhaust.

My joy in seeing so many kinds of faces sharing smiles about voting really enhanced the already exciting experience of enacting democracy. Thanks Bimini Place!