Nov 4, Pleasanton, USA: Around 12.30 PM, I went to see Shannon, the lone voter in family, voting along with Anand and Krish. The polling station was a public middle school, which Emma and Krish would attend if Anand and Shannon live in Pleasanton. Though media had been reporting long queue in front of the polling station in different part of USA, this polling station had hardly few voters. Surprisingly, there was no police at all. Anand couldn’t enter the station as he had put on an Obama-printed T-Shirt. Shannon could manage with my jacket. The election officer had suggested reversing the T-shirt. Shannon was a little agitated as a citizen of a country that provides all freedom.
Inside everything went on without any fuss. The station was tidy and manned by some five persons. Shannon got her ballot paper that was pretty lengthy, as the voter is to not only select the president/ vice president combination, but also the senator from the state, mayor and other members of the county such as education board. He is to express his choices on various resolutions of the state and county as well. The station had booths to mark the choices, a touch screen type electronic voting machine, and a scanner for paper ballot. Interestingly, while Indians all over the country use electronics voting, I hardly saw any one using the most advanced equipment. Most used the paper ballot and handed over to the election officer. The election officer put it into the scanner and gave back the receipt of voting, a portion torn off from the ballot paper. Surprisingly, there was no restriction on photographing. I could take many photographs.
And by 8.30 PM, it became clear that Americans had created history by electing Obama with overwhelming majority. That was the most delightful moment of this great democracy. There can never be any better example of integrity and solidarity of people in majority of the nation.
However, I liked the speeches of the winner and the vanquished as the best that were the mature expression of politics of the greatest democracy of the world. It got me overwhelmed. One gets that experience only rarely in lifetime. I wish India and Indians, particularly politicians, could learn this magnanimity and nation building as purpose and priority of politics from USA by going through these speeches. Unfortunately, the quality of debates and speeches hardly gets encouraged in Indian political system.