The Moment Before the Moment After

by Richard Wade

I was the very first person in line when my polling place opened this morning.

I couldn’t wait. I wanted to be a part of history. I wanted to read in a history book years from now about the pivotal moment that Americans seized today, and be able to remember that that was me, right up there in front. While waiting for the election officials to open the door, stray lines from the St. Crispian’s Day Speech in Shakespeare’s Henry V drifted through my mind:

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day.

Now, I certainly don’t pretend to be a hero with a sword in my hand, but for the first time in a very long time I feel very strongly that I have been a part of a moment in time that will divide what was before from what will be since. Not just a passive witness or a helpless victim, but a participant.

My friends, the polls are not closed as of this writing, so I am teetering between apprehension and anticipation. Whichever way our ship of state steers, at this moment before we perhaps sail to new horizons or perhaps strike an iceberg, I thank you for your comforting company, I salute you for your earnest effort, and I wish for you a safe journey.

And if you haven’t voted yet, get a thermos, a coat and a folding chair and go out and be the ten thousandth one in line, and be just as much a part of this moment as I am.

About Richard Wade

Richard Wade is a retired Marriage and Family Therapist living in California.

  • Bill

    You were more eager than I. 8-) I showed up about half an hour before my polling place opened; and I was about thirtieth in line. Once they opened, though, it took me only about fifteen minutes to get to the place where I start to prove who I am 8-), then another fifteen minutes to get my paper ballot and vote. (According to the latest polls, I probably voted on the losing side in the race for Missouri’s electors; but we can hope…it’s still officially a toss-up.)

    <aside>I’m a computer programmer by trade; and I’d trust the voting machines a whole lot more if they ran open-source software.</aside>

  • Jake

    I arrived just as the polls were opening and waited in line for about 20 minutes, then waited in another line because they never received my change of address form, then waited again for a booth to open up, then waited to feed my ballot into the scanner, which jammed for the woman in front of me. During all that waiting (85 minutes total), I realized that voting is the only thing that I have shown up to a church for in the last 8 1/2 years.

  • RobL

    I voted by mail 2 weeks ago, kind of takes the fun out of it.

  • valdemar

    I’m British and I’ve never in my whole life had to stand in line to vote. Amazing outburst of democracy. The world is watching America, even though it’s well past much of the world’s bedtime.

  • Catherine

    No lines were I am. I voted this morning and didn’t wait at all. When I drove by the polling place about a half hour ago, it didn’t look like there were that many cars in the parking lot.

  • Gullwatcher

    I envy you. I voted by mail last week, but I was wishing today that I could have been somewhere, gone somewhere, to get that feeling of having been there, on this day when everything changes.

  • Saint Splattergut

    Good luck, America. :)

  • Andrew C.

    As I left voting place, I stopped to shout Ahab’s last words at a McCain/Palin sign.
    It felt good.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    Good sentiments Richard. That’s a great speech and very apropos for this moment in history.


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