Today is the six year anniversary of my husband’s citizenship oath. It was the result of an incredible amount of money, time, paperwork, visits to obscure strip malls to get eyeball scans, interviews, scrapbooks, and red tape. It was months of driving everywhere listening to a CD of citizenship questions, to the point where the CD would ask, “What economy does the US have?” and our two year old would chirp, “Market ‘conomy!”
The day of the exam, he took his test, and then we had to come back for the ceremony. We joined a crowd of people of all nationalities, some who had been working for decades to reach this moment. They handed out miniature American flags, and people stood, clutching their flags and weeping, as a video of Obama played an eloquent speech welcoming them to the country. Many cried through their oaths, but I’ve never seen people who meant it more.
Afterward, we went with friends to Pappadeux for seafood to celebrate. The waiter asked what we were celebrating, and as a surprise, the kitchen created a dessert for him, decked in red, white and blue candles. The tables around us asked what the dessert was for, and people came over to shake my husband’s hand and welcome him to the country. One of them, who said he was a veteran, said he was so happy for us and he hoped life would be good for us. That day, I saw the best of America.
Tomorrow, you have the chance to do what other people only dream of, and work years to achieve. You get to vote. Right now, sometimes I feel like this election brought out the worst of America, with both sides behaving in ways I never imagined. But I’ve seen the best, too, and I know you’re still there. Please show up, let your voice be heard and remind everyone that we exist. However you vote, whatever you believe, go do it.