An atheist's communion

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I just got home from early voting and dropping Laura off at her el station. We had touchscreen voting machines with paper ballot receipts that scrolled under glass. I have to say, it was a pretty slick and reassuring way to vote, though it lacked the visceral satisfaction of those New York machines where you set all the small levers and then ram one giant lever home to lock in your votes.

Still, the experience was not without its reward. I'm a sentimentalist, I know, but I felt a frisson of pride—dare I say rightness chills?—as I touched my stylus to the OBAMA/BIDEN box and took part in what I hope will be history. I told Laura this in the car afterward. "Interesting, I didn't feel anything," she said.

As with spiritual matters, we all have our own responses to the experience of participating in the civic dialogue of voting. But it's not the response or even the motive that matters, just the vote. Some might say our two votes don't mean anything because Illinois is all locked up for Obama anyway, but every brick has its place in holding the house together. Your vote is important, for whatever candidates, whether in Massachusetts, Utah, Indiana, or any other state. It's your affirmation that you're engaged with the future of the country, whatever you envision it to be.

I really only intended to say here that I had voted, and suddenly I feel like I'm giving a talk in church. I guess voting is one of the ways this atheist feels like part of something larger than himself.

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William Shunn

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on October 29, 2008 11:22 AM.

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