With the third and final presidential debate behind us (finally!), I wanted to relate a story.
I voted already. The early voting here began last Wednesday, and Friday I made my way to the local early polling place around lunchtime, the sky a beautiful blue and the sun shining warmly among the freshly fallen leaves.
But voting was kind of strange. Here I was, standing in line with three dozen other people, and somehow all of us were laughing and joking and chatting, both with people we knew and people we didn't. Holding doors for others. Holding someone's place in line, even if we'd never seen that person before.
And yet the thing we'd all come there to do seems to be the most divisive thing in history.
It's all the more poignant that we were early voters - the ones who have already made up our minds, the ones who do not need to wait for the candidates to debate. We are perhaps the most fiery, the most stubborn, the most convinced (if not convincing). But we treated one another like the neighbors we are, warmly and with respect. Perhaps it is telling that we didn't actually discuss the election itself, but instead how many local candidates there were, or whether it was too early for a flu shot, or if we'd seen each other around town lately.
In the end, it was strange feeling that dichotomy. To know, firsthand, that we were there to purposely choose one or the other, to polarize the nation; and yet we were also human beings, not so polarized ourselves. It is an important lesson to remember: we are all human beings, no matter how much we disagree.
We are more the same than we are not.
4 days ago