To the Editor,
Last Saturday afternoon my wife and I went to cast our ballots for the general election. I finished before she did and stepped out into the hallway to wait. While I was leaning against the wall, the front doors opened and a frail old man who was having to use a walker equipped with wheels on the front came in.
I want to describe this unknown (to me) voter to you so you can appreciate the sight I witnessed. I will turn 62 in December, and this gentleman appeared to be many years my senior. As he steadied himself on both handles of his walker he was bent over at the waist at a virtual 90-degree angle. His feet were at angles in opposite directions to his body and his legs slightly bent. He would push his walker about 12 inches or so in front of him while barely pushing one foot forward. He would then drag his other foot up and repeat the process.
As he inched his way down the hallway I said to him that they used to bring ballots out to folks who had such handicaps so they wouldn’t have to walk into the polls. His response was it was ok as he needed the exercise. As I watched him continue down the hall I thanked him for coming to vote, and marveled at his immense sense of civic duty and responsibility.
So many times I hear my fellow citizens comment that they don’t vote because “it doesn’t make any difference,” “I don’t know who to vote for,” “I just don’t care for politics,” etc. I have no knowledge concerning this gentleman’s background, but if he is of the age I suspect and had grown up in the south, because of his race he most likely encountered the discrimination of “Jim Crow” laws or witnessed such treatment against his parents as they attempted to exercise their right to vote. If that was the case, then more than most he could have had bitter feelings towards his obligation to participate in his government by voting. But there he was — inching his way, little by little, toward the voting booths, to exercise the right guaranteed to him in the Constitution and secured for him by the blood of thousands of Americans in wars gone by.
I never asked the gentleman his name, but sir, whoever you are, I hold you in the highest regard and esteem. It matters not to me now how you voted as much as it does that you did vote, and I admire you for putting forth the effort that you did. Your dedication puts to shame all those who could easily walk into a voting booth to do the same, yet do not do so. And so to this unknown voter, I salute you sir — I only wish more of our fellow citizens would feel the same sense of civic responsibility as you exhibited.