As the man said, "It's all over but the shouting." For the first time in weeks, instead of chirping every hour, every half hour, every 10 minutes, my landline is silent. No one is coming to my door and my entryway is thankfully free of the daily cascade of postcards and mailers that have been deposited on my household since mid-October.
I know what I think will happen today. I think I know how the election is going to turn out but—"and a very large but it is," as my friend Gordon S. Jones used to say, the only thing I am sure of is that I don't really know. The publicly available data conflicts with what I have learned in nearly 30 years of participating in and covering politics, and what I have learned conflicts with the data. The whole thing is a mess and, if the conventional wisdom is to be believed, will likely not be resolved before the end of the week.
Is this really a way for the world's only attendant superpower to choose how it picks its leaders? By poll and media campaigns and two-year long marathons that go on nearly past the people's capacity to endure them? Probably, but if anyone has a better idea I am willing to listen.
Nevertheless the 2012 campaign is going to be something I will remember for the rest of my life—and not because of how close it seems to be now that we are down to the wire. I will remember it because I took my middle son to the polls with me today and, for the first time he cast a ballot for president of the United States.
In my house casting the first presidential ballot is a big deal, bigger than getting a learner's permit (since I don't yet allow my younger children to drive) or a first date. It is a right of civic passage that, as they have been taught from an early age, people have fought and died to defend. It is not, contrary to what some of their friends may think, a privilege to be taken lightly.
Today, my boy is a citizen, with all the rights and all the responsibilities attended therein. And, regardless of how the election turns out, it is a cause for celebration.