Saying 'I Voted' with Pride Despite Putrid Ads

We all know it's been a nasty election season. But some of us still want to believe in the Frank Capra version of America. Voting is a grand thing, and we shouldn't let slimy political ads spoil that.

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So we all know, it's been a nasty election season. Everything from Rush Limbaugh taking after Michael Fox for exaggerating his symptoms of Parkinson's Disease for political purposes, to John Kerry making a botched, not to mention bad, joke at the expense of U.S. troops in Iraq.

My personal political meanness barometer peaked one night when I was watching TV with my daughter. Some political commercial came on, and after watching it my daughter turned to me and asked, can't they be arrested for saying that? No, I said. No, of course not. We have free speech in this country, so...

And then I drifted off. I mean how do you end that sentence? We have free speech so our political candidates can spend millions of dollars on commercials that make their opponents look evil? Commercials that might even be outright lies? I didn't go there. I just stopped at the free speech part.

And I'm not going there now. Because in my heart of hearts I still want to believe in the Frank Capra version of America. I can still go up to Capitol Hill and get all misty-eyed thinking about how members of Congress come to Washington from all over the country, from wildly different backgrounds with radically different ideas about how to run the country, and somehow they have to figure out how to work together. And yes, I know, they're not doing such a great job with that working together thing right now. But still, the idea of it really is grand.

And so is Election Day. I've always loved Election Day. I love the crinkly sound of fallen leaves under my feet as I walk to the polling station. I love running into neighbors I haven't seen in a while. I even like that anxious moment, which admittedly is a little more fraught with anxiety these days, when you want to be absolutely sure you're doing everything right so you don't somehow vote for the wrong person.

Really, I just love the feeling that we're all somehow doing something for the common good by casting our ballots. I know the feeling doesn't last that long, and by the time you get to work you're feeling just a tad self-conscious about that I Voted sticker plastered on your lapel.

But I don't care. I'm still going to savor those warm fuzzy feelings for as long as I can, because the next day I know you can still find yourself talking back to the radio if you happen to hear the wrong person making an acceptance speech. And let's face it, in the current political climate, warm and fuzzy doesn't happen very often.

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