I revere Election Day as a more patriotic holiday than the Fourth of July.
Sure, fireworks and 21 gun salutes are fun.
And I guess it's kinda cool when we all dress up in red, white and blue and sit down to corn-on-the-cob and potato salad (I prefer the German version, but that's just my opinion) to celebrate our independence.
But the fact of the matter is, my casting a ballot on Election Day is the single most patriotic demonstration I can make to show my pride.
My interest in politics and our lawmakers started off young - I remember writing a letter to Ronald Reagan when I was a girl (the subject, long forgotten, likely fit somewhere between the war on drugs and a request for a pony so I could avoid the school bus), a message that was rewarded by a generic yet friendly missive on White House stationary and an 8x10 glossy photo with a stamped signature.
I was tickled.
My interest in politics is ingrained in my genes. My father's parents were dedicated servants of the Youngstown Democratic Party, working on campaigns and serving in elected positions in their community. My mother's parents were also interested in politics. My grandmother volunteered at the polls on occasion. My grandfather, despite a longtime Republican, sent a scathing letter to then vice president George H. W. Bush.
His fiery note was responded to with another potent letter - handwritten by the Vice President, himself.
This morning, I cast my ballot for Barack Obama and was filled with pride. Pride because I was voting for a politician I actually believed in. I fought back the tears, savoring the awe that this (at least for me) was not an election of lesser evils. This was a contest of hope, of promised change.
The 2008 election had finally arrived, and I was elated I could take part in such a monumental occasion.
I will truly be crushed tomorrow morning if "the other guy" claims the White House.