One day I’ll tell my daughter about this morning, when we walked hand in hand out of the voter registration office and she asked: Where’s the boat? Are we going to get on the boat?

No, baby girl, we’re going to vote. And we just did. We voted. For Barack Obama for President of the United States.

For two hours we waited in the early voting line. Although the sun was bright, it was windy and cold in the shade outside. My daughter ate pretzels and juice, chatted until she fell asleep on my shoulder, then curled up in her stroller as we inched toward the voting booth.

I had expected tears and celebration from the folks waiting in the long line. Or a “fist bump” maybe? Instead, it was quiet smiles and friendly nods from the other black voters (and white ones too). Some wore their Obama buttons until they came within sight of the poll workers. Waiting behind me were a middle-aged library clerk and a college student who was voting in the presidential election for the first time. In front, I noticed quite a few black veterans and soldiers in uniform, executives on their cell phones, and lots of elderly women – including the one who stopped to peer up and down the waiting line and laughing, raised her hands to say, “blessings to you, blessings to all of you!”

What mattered most to me, though, was that I held my daughter’s hand and together we cast a ballot for Obama. And she smacked that blinking VOTE button at the top of the touch screen not just for me, but for her great grandmothers who stand with us in spirit. It doesn’t matter that we live in a ridiculously red state (South Carolina). Today I felt proud, grateful, and oddly enough – relieved. No matter what happens, we did it, baby girl. We got on the boat.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cat on October 29, 2008 at 8:25 AM

    This made me tear up. Congratulations!! Can’t wait to join you next Tuesday.


  2. Posted by linguist on October 29, 2008 at 1:43 PM


    Good for you for being in the moment, for reflecting on and DOCUMENTING the importance of this event! What a wonderful keepsake for you, for your daughter, for all of us!

    Go Obama! Yes we can!


  3. Posted by Frieda on October 29, 2008 at 8:17 PM

    I am so proud of my niece. She will grow up in a world where having Black President is the “norm.” For her, it’s not something that seems out of reach and a crazy impossibility.

    An Obama presidency means more than just change for our country. It means that black children everywhere can look at the leader of this nation and see their reflection. For the first time, the loud voices of self-doubt and inferiority have no choice but to quiet themselves.

    Let’s all get on that “boat” and VOTE!!!


  4. Thanks for all the kind words, y’all! I hope that you’ll visit the site again on election day and tell us about your experiences at the polls.


  5. I used this blog today in my AP class to teach Descriptive and Expository writing :) You may have some new followers soon… the kiddies found your post very helpful.


  6. Wow, thanks, Ms. P!


  7. […] “WE VOTED TODAY!” – A small piece of history, my account of the day I took my daughter to vote for President Barack Obama. Every time I read it, I am reminded of how much pride I felt that day and it makes me feel joyful all over again. […]


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