Election Day Guilt Gives Way to Satisfaction
Columnist Gab Bonesso has a tendency to be quite the people-pleaser, which makes election time tense for her.
I am a people-pleaser, so Election Day can be dangerous.
I love to exercise my right to vote, but I feel guilty not voting for half of the candidates. As I approach my polling place I always avoid eye contact so I don’t get offered a flyer by a candidate from the opposite party. And that’s because if they offer me one, I will take it.
I have been known to stand outside of my polling place and let a candidate from the opposite party spew his or her views that were completely contradictory to my own, because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. It is far easier on my soul if I put my head down, avoid eye contact and just vote.
The problem with that plan during this particular election was that my voting place was packed, with an hour-long wait to vote. I was forced to stand in an elementary school hallway with all of the other voters from my district (most of whom were standing on the opposite side of the political spectrum). It was difficult to avoid eye contact.
Naturally, I was accompanied by my mother, who was proudly supporting her candidate by displaying a pin on her coat. This behavior is a land mine waiting to explode for a people-pleaser because you are inviting people of the opposite party to comment. Lucky for them, no one said anything. My mom wields a wooden cane and stands up for what she believes in. It would not have been a pretty sight.
Despite my “can’t we all just get along” demeanor, one thing made me angry. There seems to be no thought given to people with disabilities, for whom it is a struggle to wait in long lines. As I mentioned, my mother uses a cane. In March, she had hip-replacement surgery, and next month she is having work done on her legs to improve circulation. It's not easy for her to stand for extended periods of time.
When we entered the polling place, I asked the fellow in charge if there was some way she could sit. He said that he would find her a chair. Unfortunately, because we were voting in an elementary school, the only chairs he could find were extremely low to the ground, and not useable. My mother was forced to stand for more than an hour to vote.
I guess it was my annoyance over watching my poor mom suffer for more than an hour struggling to stand in line, but when we finally walked up to the table to sign in to vote, a sweet old lady asked to see my driver’s license. I guess the people-pleaser in me had disappeared by this point. I looked her dead in the eye and said, “No”.
As the law stands now, they can ask, but unless you’re a first-time voter, you don’t have to show an ID.
There was a lot of talk about the Voter ID movement being a form of voter suppression. I’m suggesting not preparing for disabled voters is, perhaps unintentionally, perhaps a potential form of suppression as well.
We hung in there. We voted. And we people were pleased.
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