Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Freedom from Fear...


Today is Election Day.

In many places, that is a day of fear and trembling.

Many people in many countries have waited for generations to vote. (This photo is of Soweto, South Africa, as the lines to vote snaked around in only the third truly democratic election in that country in 2004.)

In our country, we are free from the fear that bad things will happen to us in polling places, and because we exercise our right to vote as we wish.

I have had the privilege to vote since I was 18. On my 18th birthday, I marched into the Village Hall and registered to vote. I get teary-eyed every time I even think about fulfilling my democratic right. 

On Monday, I joined with 2000 other people at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Risa K. Lambert Author Luncheon here in Chicago.
The speaker was Father Patrick Desbois, a French priest who has devoted his life to finding mass graves of Jews killed during the Holocaust in the Ukraine. The whole program was marvelous. Leo Melamed shared some of his own story as well, in a moving tribute to Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who gave visas to Lithuanian Jews during the Holocaust.

I couldn't help but think about today's events as I sat in that room and listened to the stories of people who were trapped, really trapped, by the events around them. They were not free.

But today. Today I exercise my freedom.

Today I VOTE.

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