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The neighbors are restless

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2004-10-25


For some reason, I get a kick out of voting. I donít know why I get so excited about it, but maybe itís the juvenile chance to write in a name for an office that has no chance of getting in. Like ďBart SimpsonĒ for county council member at large, or ďMickey MouseĒ for president.

This election though, I think itís going to be a bit different. Oh sure, there are still going to be the jokers who write in bizarre selections for certain offices, but in talking to people, Iíve realized something: theyíre not happy.

Iíve discovered more and more people disgusted with jobs being shipped out to India. People who were for the war in the beginning are now against it. And these arenít people who are starving to death. These are my neighbors, working, retired, unemployed, some who know someone serving overseas, others who have no connection with the soldiers other than a tally of which ones died today on the evening news. A retired fellow who sometimes mows my lawn says whatever jobs are being created by the Bush administration are low paying positions that wonít begin to support a family of two, let alone a typical family of four. Itís seeing political signs pop up on neighborís lawns who donít normally seem politically interested in things.

The neighbors are restless. And thatís a good thing.

Itís seeing my mother get interested in voting for the first time in 12 years. She spent a lot of time this summer watching CNN and the national news and occasionally Fox News. She always thought war was a waste. She asked me if there was any way she could vote absentee. Sure mom, Iíll get a ballot for you. She filled it out a few days ago and I sent it in.

If my mom was upset enough to vote, I know she was deeply upset with the way things were going. Together weíd watch the news, and usually things like people dying in a war donít bother me, but one morning was different. For some reason, the deaths in Iraq had either reached a nice even number, or it was close to Memorial Day, or there was something going on to where they flashed the war casualties on the screen with how old they were. They werenít old. None of them were. And it made me think back to when I was 18, 19, 20. What the hell was I doing then? I was still waiting for my life to unfold, and I looked at the screen at these kids who were that same age, and they were dead. They had lived half their lives at age nine, age 10.

And I cried.

No one knows when we leave this earth. We only know itís a guarantee we leave sometime, and that when we do, we hopefully have reached some goals we set for ourselves, made a few people happy, acted in a way to make ourselves and our loved ones proud. Hopefully, these soldiers did that. But itís hard to accomplish that in maybe 20 years of life. Because at that age, you think thereís so many more years to live. So much more to experience.

And Iíll think about that, this election day, when I show up at Bishop Dwenger High School to cast my ballot. Iím alive, and I can vote. And Iíll do it gladly. Why?

Because, like my neighbors, Iím restless. And thatís a good thing.

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