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11.02.2004

Election Day

Everyone is excited about the election, and websites are progressively going down under the traffic. From a technical point of view, this is amazing - it's 2004, and serving local cached copies of the same text file to millions of people should not be a challenge, particularly if you have some inkling that Nov. 2 could be a high-traffic date for your site.

Idle Words vows to stay up!

I've been something of a skeptic about the power of blogs to do X, for most values of X, but the accounts of so many people voting, spontaneously contributed, are something unique and wonderful. If you want a feel for what an election is like in this enormous country, there is no better way to find out than by reading the many threads.

I went to cast my vote around lunchtime; in Vermont it's always a pleasure, since our lines are short, the election monitors are all grandmotherly, lovely people, and the polling stations are in a high school gymnasium straight out of Norman Rockwell.

As as semi-immigrant, I'm struck as always by the way everyone accepts the ground rules of democracy. This is how it works, and whoever gets picked, runs the country. If Bush loses today, he will hand over the keys to the army, the treasury, and the entire executive branch to a guy he loathes, and who he thinks will help America "drift toward tragedy", just because an 18th century document says so. That's a pretty impressive habit to build into your culture.

For all the talk of fraud, voter harrassment, and legal challenges, democracy here has deep roots, and the civic-minded people (again, mostly in their eighties) doing their share to make it work today are enough to turn even a jaded fish like me maudlin.

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Idle Words

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