Four years ago, I was packing my bags and getting ready to spend quality time at CID Agent School in bucolic Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. I had forgotten just how "progressive" the Army, or more accurately my fellow soldiers could be. Yes, that was a joke. "Slightly to the right of Attila the Hun" would be more accurate in characterizing a lot of 'em. Let's just say that being immersed in the military environment in the immediate aftermath of a paradigm-shifting election was very instructive.
It's election day today, and once again I found myself in the middle of soldiers. While there wasn't a whole lot of political commentary going on, there was just enough to make me thankful for a couple of things:
1. Our military remains almost completely apolitical...though definitely not apathetic.
2. I happen to live in a state where the state and local elections officials are professional, pretty much non-partisan, and dedicated to enabling everyone who is entitled to vote access to that right. There are no lines outside polling places here. Most of us received our mail-in ballots a month ago, and many of us sent them in at least a week prior to tonight's deadline. There's no good reason why every other state can't follow our example.
3. As of a few minutes ago, we are no longer subjected to "robo-calls", fundraising appeals by phone, email, or visitors at our front door. Even better, those asinine TV and radio ads have hit their expiration dates.
4. We live in a republic ruled by the ballot, not the bullet. I saw the elections in Iraq first hand. Despite our imperfections, this nation is still the best place when it comes to peaceful elections. Yay, us.
So thanks, fellow citizens, for your willingness to stay engaged in the civic process, regardless of the attempts to hijack it by various special interests and power groups. Y'all make me proud to be a voter, and citizen of the USA.