On Friday, after I got off work, I went down to the Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Building to cast my early vote, happy to take advantage of this way of avoiding having to vote on election day, since my Tuesdays tend to be long enough at the brewery.
The Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Building, by the way, while it is not without a sleek modernist sort of beauty, does not compare well, in my view, with the majestic German Renaissance Revival architecture of City Hall across the street.
And who could enter the Municipal Building and be so callous as not to think of the man after whom it is named, Milwaukee's last great Socialist mayor. Yes, I mean Socialist with a capital S. That is, Milwaukee has a history of electing actual Socialists to City Hall. And to be sure, when I say that Zeidler was great, I am not, in this instance, commenting on whether or not I agree with his policies as mayor, but simply observing that he was one of the truly great men of Milwaukee history and of 20th century American civil government. If you do not read any of his other books, at least read Zeidler's political memoir, A Liberal in City Government.
But I digress.
The line in which I waited to vote was almost two blocks long. On the one hand, it is good to see such community spirit and civic activity. On the other hand, neither the manner of conversation I heard around me nor the process in place (which actually discourages one from showing his ID, and could conceivably encourage mischief) did much to inspire confidence in the quality of modern American civil elections. I was much less bothered by the man who showed up wearing apparently nothing but a blanket than I was by these two factors. Overall, however, it was decently organized, and the large crowds handled rather efficiently.
There is room in my household for precisely one politically active person, and so my wife was free to remain in the warmth of our home while I was out, facing the process and casting my vote. (I could not agree less with the axiom that holds that it is an American citizen's right, even duty, to vote.)
Tonight we watch, as spectators, and we pray for pious and faithful rulers, and good government.