Proud to be an American

I’ve always considered myself to be a proud American. There were times that I felt especially patriotic: The Bicentennial, the 1984 Olympics, the first Gulf War, and after 9/11. Add today, November 4, 2008 to my list.

I have voted in every presidential election since my first one in 1980, but I’ve never seen a turnout like the one I saw today. Our polling place was the auditorium at my daughter’s high school. The line snaked around a long row of seats. Usually, I can be in and out of a polling place in 15 minutes. Today, it took an hour. It wasn’t because of problems in the polling place, it’s because there were so many people. I saw our next-door neighbor there. When my wife voted later, she saw a few coaches and parents from our Little League. People stood patiently, helping others find the right spot. Spirits were generally high. A mother gave her 18-year-old daughter a high-five after she voted for the first time. There seemed to be an excitement about voting this year that I hadn’t seen before.

I feel that we as Americans are ready for a change, not just in parties or politicians, but in the nature of politics itself. This presidential election is historic. Not only have we broken race and gender barriers, but we’re ushering in a new generation of American leaders — those of us born in the 1960s and grew up in the aftermath of that decade’s sweeping changes. An election like this only comes once in a generation — Roosevelt in 1932, Kennedy in 1960, Reagan in 1980, and now this one.

This is an exciting day to be an American, and I’m very proud to be a part of it.