The polls open here at 6 am, the same in New York. I seem to be seeing every one of my dozen doctors today, but I won't be using our car to do it. The republic has need of it: Citizen Q is driving people to the polls.
He will go door to door in the rain. He will stuff envelopes. He will fold large rectangles of cardboard into yard signs. He will do anything except make telephone calls-- Q detests telephone solicitation, and refuses to be a part of it. The news that my first job was selling light bulbs on the phone must have given him pause, but we were already married when I confessed this, and there was no escape.
Q pounces on the Op-ed page as soon as the paper is in the house; I scan page one and then turn to the comics. He assigns me homework from his reading; I come in at night to a pair of editorials, a handful of forwarded articles in my inbox. Friday night at home is always the same, if God is good: an 8pm picnic in front of the television for "Washington Week in Review." We refer to host Gwen Ifil as "Q's other girlfriend," and mourn whenever she goes on vacation.
Q is, in short, what an informed electorate looks like.
Informed and devoted. He never gives up on our political process, no matter what it serves up. He never disengages. He's not a person who won't watch the news because it's "too upsetting." He'll risk sad and he'll risk mad, but he won't risk apathy, because an apathetic voter acquiesces in tyranny, which is more possible in this country than most Americans think it is.
Someone else will be first at the polls this morning; Q is still asleep. He has a long day ahead, and a late night listening to the returns. Get up and out yourself, if you have been blessed with the franchise -- people have died that you might have it. And may we have a government that deserves the devotion of Citizen Q. There are thousands like him. We would be better off if there were more.