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Tremors of triumph

November 1, 2020

Last week, I felt the ground shaking under our feet. 

For two hours at daybreak on Wednesday, I stood along with hundreds of others in a line that snaked around the parking lot of the Elmont Library in a relentless drizzle, to cast my early vote in this year’s presidential election. 

The crowd was patient but anxious. Among them were the young and old, men and women, elderly in wheelchairs, but all mostly good-humored despite the weather. The woman in front of me noticed I was getting wet and offered me her umbrella and then huddled under her husband’s wider parasol. 

I thanked her profusely.

“I’d ask you to pay it forward but I do want my umbrella back!” her husband joked.

I laughed.

“Don’t worry, it won’t be long ā€” we’ll make it to the door by sunrise,” I said, provoking more laughter. “Yeah, a new day will dawn!” he said.

“One thing he’s done is forced us all to get out and vote!” someone remarked about President Trump.

“This already looks like an election with a record turnout,” said another. “You can’t see the end of the line.”

Someone broke into song in the predawn darkness.

Chairs came out.

A man offered to do a coffee run. Laughter erupted.

There was a real sense that we were all there to do something we have longed to do for these past four years ā€” make a difference. It was a feeling of empowerment.

America is not about hate and division and violence. Underneath it all, it’s about fellowship, peace, patience and prosperity. 

That’s how we have persevered, and that’s how we will.

This election is a chance to show the world how to beat adversity.

The people in that Elmont parking lot were there to prove once again that there’s no challenge too formidable for this country when it stands together, from sea to shining sea ā€” be it racism or the coronavirus or economic hurdles, or what have you.

The enthusiasm was reminiscent of the days before Barack Obama’s historic victory in 2008.

The two hours went by like a breeze as I hummed along with the Grateful Dead, “Get in the groove and let the good times roll, we’re going to stay here till we soothe our souls, if it takes all night long.”

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