Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 6, 2008 at 2:09 PM

A progressive generation

Don’t forget where we came from

I dropped off my absentee ballot at my polling station. I love taking it straight to the kind people who dedicate their day to ensure that ethical voting practices are enforced and to ensure there’s a smiling individual — from the neighborhood present to answer questions.

This is the last year of poll booths in Washington state. I had no idea until today that this community gathering of passionate, caring individuals will soon be a thing of the past.

Even though I spend as little as three minutes to ensure my ballot ends up in the proper location, I thrive on that little bit of neighborly spirit, the familiar smell of elementary schools or the buzz of certain congregational meeting centers.

Walking out of the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church [on Election Day] made me sad. What this departing trend represents in a society driven more by text-message communication than handwritten sentiments gives me pause about the direction and future of community.

I am going to miss the kind, elderly generation who show up to work with fresh baked goods and a sense of purpose of their civic duty. How often do we take the opportunity to talk with and learn from our wisest and eldest generation? The disconnect from them is growing even more extreme.

I started out the day canvassing in Wallingford for the Democratic Headquarters. Along one of the streets of our targeted area, a women in her 60s began attacking one of the volunteers. She raised her voice, pointed at each one of us and said, “I hate your generation and what you represent.” She claimed that in her attempts to take her little dog into grocery stores and coffee shops that she has been discriminated against and has become a victim of our rigidity and obsessive need to follow rules.

Although her claims were obtuse and her attacks generalized, I couldn’t help but try to understand her from her perspective. I felt bad that she’d experienced something so discriminating that she felt the need to attack us and carry such hatred in her heart. All I could tell her was, “I love your passion, but not your hatred.” This woman’s feelings were legitimately hurt.

I wondered how many other elderly folks had been driven to feel this way by any sort of disconnect inspired by “my generation.” How do they feel about us now that the rich tradition of voting with community has faded into the private spaces of our individual homes? I just hope, in the future, after the loss of our public-voting tradition has dampened, we remember the wonderful people who delightfully welcomed us into their voting domain and find a way to include them in our daily version — whatever that may be.

— Erinn Hale, Seattle

Comments | More in Election, Politics, Pop culture


No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►