On Choosing

I value progress and protection. I think that covers everything except for peace: is peace a sign of progress, or protection? Maybe peace is a third party of its own. Is it a selfless wish upon others or a selfish act to wish no risk of foul nor blame? 

I either want for us to get along so that I may not call you foe, or I want for us to get along so that you may call me friend.

Selflessness is a form of protection, to the politic.
Protecting one's self is to ensure one can progress.
Progression may lead to contentment, and we all know money can buy you happiness.

Tax is never included in the opinion, but everybody has withholdings.
Interest in the opinion will grow and you will never pay it off.

In debt (owing money) is the now indebted (owing gratitude).
Obligations save our lives.

Doves and pigeons are the same bird. Their family is Columbidae, like Columbia, the poetic personification of America named for a man who did not really land here, a man who swept to conquer, a man who divvied us on the world being flat or not. Is today flat or not? Doves, the symbol of peace, and common pigeons, the symbol of city poverty. Together the same bird, different coats. And the one with all the beauty, all the colors and patterns and shimmers of feathers, the one with the endless variations, we tease as the joke of the homeless in the city. Who is laughing at the beautiful birds who are resourceful and feeding on crumbs? The dove we hold highly, it is so plain and bland and disappointing at sight. Small and blank, to be filled inside the lines.

I don't particularly care for pigeons or doves. Or partridges. 

In the kiosk at the elementary school where I am voting, I stand staring at the sheet for far too long, minutes unmoved. I begin to cry, as I historically have at election voting kiosks when choosing a President. Am I deciding on who I want or being asked to choose someone? I am standing there trying to recall some fitting quote of perseverance and defiance. Lincoln or Sartre or Buckminster Fuller. Zen koans. Marie Antoinette's famous one-liner of lore. Have we been eating cakes all along? How about, Let them gather the necessities and prepare the cakes for themselves. How about, Give a man a fish and he eats for a day but teach a man to fish and he'll eat for life and become independent. How about, It takes a community to be a village to raise a people.

Do you have yourself a village? Where is your agency?

Five minutes pass in the voting kiosk. I cannot think of a fitting quote. I cannot string the fitting words myself. I am knitting a crazy quilt without any shape. Another minute passes and I admit defeat to the words. I cast my vote and feed it to the machine. The volunteer helping me turns out to be a woman I have known since I was six years old.

BALLOT CAST: the machine accepts my decision. I am now a new statistic.

I am wiping away tears and staring at the volunteer, expecting her to say hello. I am crying at the voting kiosk and this woman I have known for decades is staring me in the face, blankly. She does not recognize me but at least she's staring with concern.

"Do I know you?" she asks me.

Do I know you?
I am a paper ballot cast.
I am a number in the district, in the state.
I am part of the statistics but it's lost to the regulations of federal secrecy.
I cried to vote because I could not be sure, where are we going and do I want a ride?

I am not recognized.