Election day in a small town …

Our polling place is at the intersection of “Fair Street” and “Dead End.” No kidding.

We are, in some ways, a microcosm of the nation … yet we are also very different. We’re living in a liberal, highly educated and urbanized state, yet this is essentially a rural community. We express the commonalities of both urban and suburban communities. We are everyman and everywoman … and yet we are entirely different and unique.

We voted, as did most people in the United States – or so I fondly hope. The polls were busy, but the lines moved briskly and our wait was minimal, even on long lines.

Barack Obama was reelected. This is good news, but the election results are troubling. Troubling because the country is obviously so divided along traditional racial lines. The Old South is still voting white and white men are still voting for white men.

Troubling also because old, and I thought long-settled issues are still with us.

How come we’re still debating a woman’s right to have an abortion or have access to birth control? At what point are we finished with this? When are women, who are not actually the majority in this country,permanently free to choose what we do with our own bodies?

How did religion get so twisted up with politics? How did we let a religious fundamentalist minority become so  kingmakers in a country where freedom of religion, and separation of church and state are fundamental tenets of our nation? Why are we still fighting the civil war? How is it possible that so many people are so ill-informed about our Constitution and have never heard of the Articles of Confederation … how badly it failed … and their proposed “fixes” to today’s problems were historical disasters.

Around here, voting is a different experience than in more populous areas. First, and probably most important, Massachusetts is about as far from a battleground state as you could get. While there are no doubt die-hard Republican votes who went for Romney, he has been personally very unpopular in the Commonwealth since he abandoned Massachusetts to try to get an ambassadorship from Bush II.

Scott Brown’s signs dominate the area immediately in front of poll.

He was a bad governor. I’d like to think that the truth of this had something to do with his loss last night. He not only abandoned his office without completing his term, but he proceeded to badmouth  the people of Massachusetts, something that was universally resented across the state regardless of party.

One of the most interesting things I noticed when we voted was that there were plenty of signs for Scott Brown (R) and Elizabeth Warren (D) and signs for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, there were no signs at all for the Romney-Ryan ticket. Not a single one.

Obama and Warren, both democrats, at the intersection before the polling place.

Interestingly, not a single sign for any candidate indicated the party affiliation of that candidate.  The sign’s information included a website address and sometimes, the candidate’s email address … but not his or her party affiliation. Not even for Obama.  Okay, I’m reasonably sure that most or all of us know with which party the national candidates are associated, but for some of the local candidates, I was not sure whether they were Democrats or Republicans.

I didn’t notice this peculiarity until I downloaded the pictures. The absence of party affiliation on any signs for any candidate was suddenly glaringly obvious. I don’t know if this is normal. I don’t think so because I never noticed before. Does anyone know if this is usual or something different?

Democrat or Republican? I didn’t know for sure until I looked at the ballot!

Around here, quite a few local incumbents are running unopposed. Most of these are Democrats, but at least one was a Republican and a couple appeared to be unaffiliated. That’s a local anomaly perhaps more common in rural areas. If your representative is doing a good job, no one sees any reason to argue the point.

With the madness of the election over … will the virulence of partisan politics ebb and enable everyone to remember we are all Americans first and foremost?

If we can’t work together, we shall all hang separately. History has shown it time and again. Great empires have been destroyed by dissension within … it can and will happen here unless everyone calms down.

All the frothing at the mouth rage and rhetoric is doing no good for anyone. Unless we can let go of our hates and remember who we are and what we stand for,  I fear greatly for our future. We need to become one nation again. Under God or not, we neet to be a single nation, not a bunch of badly behaved children hitting each other with our shovels in the sandbox.