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Super late this morning because I’m 1. Taking my life in my hands teaching yet another child to drive and 2. Shoving children through six weeks of backed-up stuff before the quarter ends for school. Why didn’t they do their work in a timely manner? That’s always the question that no one has a good answer to. As usual, we’re all vowing, in the midst of our sorrows, to “do better.”

So anyway, I did go vote on Tuesday, obediently, though I do not believe in “it” anymore. Mostly I go because I like to see the kinds of people who relish participation in these sorts of culturally mandated charades. Not to judge, mind you, but out of curiosity, and because there is some sort of camaraderie, even when you know everyone in the line is voting the opposite of you–or rather me, up here in the place not where woke goes to die, but where it keeps getting more and more oxygen and is being fed bacon bits with a side chardonnay.

This time I was bemused by the number of people who made sure they got their “I Voted” stickers on the way out the door. I never avail myself of the proffered sticker on this principle:

Also, I don’t like to wear flare:

The line for voting was a bit longer than usual and so I had plenty of time to contemplate the deeper meanings of being given a sticker when you go to do your “civic duty,” as if one is a child being praised for buckling zerself into a big, chunky backward-facing car seat. I was very happy, therefore, to find this morning that someone has taken the trouble to find out why these stickers are available to the voting public:

The oval-shaped  “I Voted” sticker with the billowing flag has been a staple within American voting culture for decades — so much so that even some absentee ballots include it in the envelope. While the sticker remains ubiquitous as the country’s most beloved participation trophy, many are unaware of its origins. States and counties across the nation have strayed from the historic sticker, holding contests for original designs that better reflect their local elections. While some areas of the country are phasing out the sticker reward in an effort to save money, 14-year-old Hudson Rowan swept the Ulster County, NY, “I Voted” sticker contest with his viral spider-demon design entry, sparking a renewed interest in voter participation and voting paraphernalia all together.

Apparently, the idea of giving out voting flair originated with suffrage:

“The oldest Election day paraphernalia we have is from 1920, during the women’s suffrage movement,” Jerry told Hyperallergic. “We have a button with a ribbon extending down that says ‘I cast my first vote on November 2nd, 1920.’ It’s the first time women would’ve been voting nationally in the presidential election, but it mentions specifically the Republican party for which they voted because that was the party that supported suffrage.”

The writer of this deathless prose cannot help but add:

Boy, how times have changed …

Have they, though? I don’t think so. I think most people like to let their righteousness be known before other people. It’s what’s called “Social Cohesion.” Funnily enough, it’s the sort of thing that becomes more and more important as the “cohesion” goes away from the “social.” We have to wear stickers and put out signs because “we” don’t really know each other, nor do we care to. “We” prefer to keep things on the surface and have the idea of the thing without actually having to have it, like “democracy” itself.

So anyway, back to “doing the work.” Have a nice day!

Photo by Paulo Mergulhão on Unsplash

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