I love Election Day. Each time I cast my ballot in the basement of a church near our home, I’m reminded of why it’s so great to be an American. After a campaign filled with nasty rhetoric and endless hours of dark and scary attack ads on television, an outsider might think that Americans don’t agree on anything. You’d think that a trip to the polling place would be like navigating a mine field of where everybody is on edge, angry and ready to start an argument.

But, thankfully, Election Day is nothing like that. My polling place in Des Moines on this crisp, clear fall morning was a lot more like a neighborhood reunion than a political battleground. Neighbors chit-chatted. We inquired about kids away at college. We teased each other about our favorite sports teams. (Sorry Kathy, I just don’t think the Cubs are going win the World Series next year, either.) We shared neighborhood news. And then we all quietly voted.

I think it’s like that all across Iowa. Sure, my neighbors (or anyone’s neighbors) don’t all agree on everything in politics. We have different ideas about who should lead our city, our state and our country; and how they should do it. But we know how important it is to make our voices heard in the quiet of the voting booth instead of shouting at each other. And, in the end, we respect our free and fair election process that lets neighbors disagree on politics, vote our convictions, and still be best of friends.

Tomorrow, the day after the election, the pundits will be all over the airwaves and newspapers telling us who won, who lost and where we’re headed from here. That’s fine. But deep down, we all know who the real winners are: it’s the American people, who get to live in a country where elections, and neighbors, really do matter.

Written by Dirck Steimel
Dirck is the news services manager for Iowa Farm Bureau.