Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Election Day & Change
Before I went to vote I had written the majority of a “woe-is-me” blog entry about my having the cold from hell, which I do have and is indeed the cold from hell. Nonetheless, while I stood in line to vote, I knew I’d have to come back and write another blog entry, because the results of this election are no doubt more important than my runny nose, stuffy ears, persistent headache, and inexplicably persistent gas (which J is LOVING).
Here in Charm City we’re not only excited about voting in a new president, but Question 2 has been at the forefront of many of our minds as well. Question 2 would legalize slots in Maryland, something that’s highly contentious among Maryland voters, teachers, police, and community leaders.
WARNING: Personal opinion to follow.
I love slots. I won $10,842.00 on a Rocky nickel slot in Las Vegas almost five years ago, and I wasn’t even playing the max bet. I was betting a quarter, but I had gotten a bonus game within a bonus game within a bonus game, which caused the screen to go black. I thought I broke the machine, just having sat down to deposit my last $10 while J went to the men’s room. Turns out I won the progressive, which I took in cash like any responsible gambler.
That was our first or second trip to Vegas, and I’ve been back twice a year since. One of those times is always for RollerCon, but the other is a personal vacation to gamble. Did I mention I love slots?
I’ve gotten to a point where I can pull about $100 out of any 1-cent machine – I know what to play and how to play, and more importantly, I know when to stop. It’s fun. But do I want slots here in Baltimore?
Putting the revenue from slots aside, I’m concerned about the cost that we’ll incur down the line when we attract more crime and poverty into our city, one that has fought to get further away from both and is just now starting to move in the right direction.
Not to mention, do I think having slots in Baltimore will turn it into Vegas? Is Atlantic City anything like Vegas? Atlantic City’s disgusting. It’s dirty, and it’s unsafe to walk from casino to casino directly outside of the casinos. This perception from a girl who isn’t afraid of Baltimore at night.
Lastly, would I play slots in Maryland? No. I’d go to Vegas, because it’s not about the gambling. It’s about a change of scenery – a very nice change of scenery where there is gambling. However, many Marylanders and Baltimoreans aren’t like me and may (and many will) go blow their paychecks on gambling. I see the hoards of elderly and poor people giving their last dollars to the lotto counter in the convenience shop next to my office so they can play some rigged animatronic horse racing game. They all line up outside the counter huddling around a television, hoping their horse wins, and when it doesn't some step outside to beg for bus money. It’s sad.
As for the presidential race, CNN just called the race for Obama, and beyond the cheering of the fans on television, we’re hearing multiple gunshots outside, like we often hear on New Year’s day – happy gunshots (many of you may ask if there is such a thing, and I can tell you that indeed there is, and it's a fairly common form of expression here in the city).
Although I was about 200 degrees and vastly annoyed while waiting in line to vote this evening, I’m glad I did it. Often times the only white people in sight at our polling place, we got a lot of smiles as people saw my Obama tee shirt.
As we waited in line in the old elementary-school hallway, before we were in the actual room where the voting took place, we’d hear cheers coming from inside every so often. Hoots and hollars – as exciting as if a group of people had just heard that the person they had voted for had won. When we got inside, I realized what it was – cheers led by the voting judges each time a first-time voter had finished voting. How fucking cool is that?!
I’m proud to be a part of this town, and I’m proud to be a part of this country that is taking back the reigns from various abuses of power. Just because we voted for change doesn’t mean change will automatically happen. Like the change I talk about here on this blog, the changes we challenge ourselves to make in the perceptions of ourselves and others, the change we want and need for our country won’t come to fruition unless we each work hard to make ourselves, our communities, and our country better each and every day and by leading by example.
So you want change? Start now – as soon as you turn away from your computer. Exemplify that you want to see in others – that which you want to see reflected in your community and ultimately your country. Don’t just want something to be a certain way – do something about it.
Always do something about it.