Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Democrats Abroad, Voting and The Line
Last night, on the way to choir rehearsal, I stopped by De Balie and I voted in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary. It was fairly clearly set up. There were signs and there were people at tables pointing the way to the voting tables. There were also events, which I did not have the time or inclination to attend.
I was pointed to two people who could check off my name and give me a ballot - a man and a woman. I walked to the woman at the table and arrived at exactly the same time as a young woman. Being the chivalrous guy that I am, I motioned for her to go ahead of me. As I waited behind the young woman, I saw a slightly older woman walk in. She was pointed to the two people checking off names. I watched as she locked onto the woman at the table and, without moving her eyes away, moved towards her. In fact, she was moving in front me. And I thought, You are so Dutch! Yeah, I know. She was obviously American - she was voting. (Being a New Yorker, of course, I butted in front of her when the young woman was finished.)
Here more than anywhere else I've ever been, I have stood in line at money machines, ticket booths and restrooms where there is a pretty obvious line, but some Dutch person will walk up right to the front, completely ignoring the line.
I don't mean to get all anti-Dutch here, and I'm really not anti-Dutch at all. It's just my favorite song that I'm singing again. The Dutch don't really know (or care) about the line. Not everybody, but a lot of people. If you're Dutch and reading this, or if you're not Dutch and are living here and disagree with my observation, just observe. Observe what people do. Observe your natural instinct when walking up to a money machine or a restroom. I'm just sayin'.
My attitude on this got me into trouble a couple of months ago. I was first in a line of three at the WC at church. A woman walked up and started tugging on the door. I said, "Sue [not her real name], there's a line. You are so Dutch!" She got all frazzled and walked off to another WC. Turns out she was having some sort of a "female trouble." Fair enough, but if there are three people in a line outside of a WC ten minutes before church is going to start, you could ask.
Anyway, about voting! I voted for Obama, of course. (I also voted absentee in NYC for Kucinich about six weeks ago.) I don't have any feel for what people are saying over here about the candidates. The Democrats Abroad people are a fairly close-knit group. (There! I got knitting into this post!) I went to a few meetings when I first moved here four years ago, before the last time our current president was appointed. I saw someone last night who had been active in the last election over here and I thought, Man, you've gotten old. (Wonder what the last four years has done to me?)
I'd be more active in Democrats Abroad if I didn't feel like it was going to take up so much of my time. I think it would take time to squeeze into the structure that is the organization as well as participate. I'd like to think there's a place for everyone and that we can all do something. But then again, there's not much to fight for over here. There is a smattering of Republicans, but who cares? It's mostly Lefties. And our votes are counted, but to my knowledge, they are counted differently, which bothers me a bit. And I'm from New York, which almost always goes Democrat. If anyone has a good reason to get more involved, please share.
I'm asked occasionally if I vote and if I can vote - since I live abroad. This question makes me roll my eyes. I can vote and I do vote. My parents, whose political views vary greatly from mine, instilled in me the importance of voting, and I vote every chance I can - twice, if possible, as I did in this primary.