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To vote, Annie thought as she walked down the sidewalk towards the stadium, is to be a full citizen.
To vote, she thought as she showed the ticket man her registration card, is to exercise one's rights.
To vote, she thought as she took her place beside the fat man and the curly-haired woman, is to be human.
She came out of her thoughts and took a moment to observe. The sky above her was blue; the ground below her was green. The sun was shining and the people around her chatted amiably. It was a bit odd not to hear cheering and cursing, but this was voting. This was mature. This was patriotic. This was human.
Annie had just missed the primary health-care law vote, as her birthday had been three days after. That had disappointed her terribly. But the law was the law, and the law said one could not vote until eighteen. So she had not been one to complain. Voting was a right, and rights were privilages.
As the thousands of cell phones ticked closer to noon, the noise level died off and the excitement grew. Instead of a rumble of voices Annie heard a buzz of unspoken anticipation. Voting! they're all thinking, she thought. Just like me. How patriotic! How human! How in solidarity we all are, because of this wonderful thing voting.
Finally, the moment the clocks struck noon, the noise died completely and the Moderator mounted a platform in the middle of the stadium.
"Are you ready to vote?" he asked into his megaphone.
The voters chorused back, "Yes."
Though Annie could not see him, she guess he flashed his winning, photogenic smile. "On today's ballot," the Moderator said, "we have the health-care general election. We will now take the vote."
Direct democracy, Annie thought. The only way to go.
"Now," said the Moderator, "all those in favor of health-care, raise your hand."
Dutifully, the voters raised their hands. Annie felt a flush of pride. She had voted! She had exercised her right as a citizen. She was loved, she was great, she was human. She felt fantastic.
Walking home was like walking on a bubble; she could not wait to tell her seventeen-year-old friends all about it. So caught up in her new daydream was she that she did not notice the scruffy homeless man sitting on the street corner, shaking his head at all of them.