Kensington, Maryland, Election Day, 2022 — We’re lucky. We “walk the vote” at our neighborhood middle school which is a pleasant 10-minute stroll down leafy streets. Most of the leaves are down now but enough are hanging on to offer a pleasant autumn ambiance.
Neighbors were on the same mission, quietly filing along by ones and twos, some pushing strollers, A few held hands, walking with a sense of purpose, as they might on their way to schul on Friday evening or church on Sunday morning.
As voters approached the school entrance, candidate signs decorated the final few yards while campaign reps offered to persuade the undecided.
The early November breeze was just chilly enough to find the gaps in my puffy jacket. The chill reminded me of elections past. Only one other time, in Massachusetts, was walking to vote possible. Mostly you drive, hope to find a place to park, and line up for your turn.
The American armed forces place a lot of emphasis on its members voting without telling them how to vote. Having been a military brat and then a career officer, I’ve watched this process since I can remember. Because most military members are far from home, the effort is all about absentee ballots which must be requested early, making the emphasis on election season seem much longer than in civilian life.
I’ve also served our nation in war and peace. I know what authoritarian regimes look like. Along the way, some of my friends have given all and aren’t here to vote, but all of us have sacrificed some to defend that for which we claim to stand. For me, voting is a continuing duty in honor of those who are no longer with us. That’s why I do it.
For some reason, election day here had a pleasant zen of its own. The people I met were particularly pleasant. I snapped this on my walk today. It seemed about right.