Culture, Politics

An Election Day story from '04

While standing in line to vote in 2004 I was reminded what makes democracy special.  In ’04 I lived in in the Allston neighborhood of Boston.  I went to the polls before work.  At the time, I wore a white Breslover style kippah (the big, cranium sized ones).  I was standing behind a middle-aged black man who I learned was named Jerome.  He turned around, and upon seeing my skull-cap, he said, “Asalaam Aleikem.”  I pulled back my trenchcoat, revealing my tzitzit, and responded “Aleikhem Shalom.”  We proceded to have a wonderful, uplifting conversation about the Qu’ran and Torah, the democratic process and the first four Bush years.
Over the next six months, until I left Boston for LA, I would see Jerome around the neighborhood, and we’d stop and chat.  Were it not for that election, a Jew and a Muslim would never have forged that friendship.   In my mind, THIS is what democracy is all about, and why Election Day is such a special and meaningful time.  It allows all of us the opportunity to see who lives in our neighborhood, and to forge bonds that might otherwise not be formed.
No matter who wins at the end of this election, let us all hope and/or pray that the true victor is the democratic process.  After two questionable elections, our country deserves to see true democracy in action.  Let’s all make that a reality and get out and vote!  When you’re in line, talk to your neighbor for a minute–that is community, and THAT is what democracy is made of.

5 thoughts on “An Election Day story from '04

  1. In my mind, THIS is what democracy is all about, and why Election Day is such a special and meaningful time.
    Really? And here I thought it was all about self-determination; government by the people, for the people; and taxation with representation.
    And of course, Jews and Muslims were never friends in non-democratic lands. That never happened. Only an election can prove binding in terms of friendship. And obviously, in Paris and England, democracy has proven a real healer. A multi-culti paradise.

  2. My point, DK, was regarding my interaction with Jerome (a Jew and a Muslim) would never have happened were it not for the nature of the democratic electoral process–that we stand in line together, as a community, equal in every regard and completely blind to the ballot. Until that day, we were blind to each other, but after participating in the electoral process, together, a connection was made; one that otherwise would not have occurred. Don’t read too much into a brief anecdote and then backhandedly accuse others of political, historical and cultural ignorance.

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