The Indiscernable Hold
He stood there, at the voting booth.
He stood there and looked his ballot.
It was his choice, it always had been.
Travis had done the research, he had looked at multiple sites while concluding that he should vote on the facts. He should vote on what he found out.
But his conscience was screaming. The indiscernible hold he felt as he put the pen to the GOP candidate bothered him. "Why can I not fill in the bubble? This doesn't make any sense."
He felt the glare of the growing line as he stood there looking blankly at the ballot. He felt the warm breath of the election volunteer from across the gym of the local high school. He couldn't do it. He couldn't decide.
His pen hovered, as did his understanding of who he was and what he believed in.
Travis grew up in Alabama, a discernibly conservative state (voting on the Republican side for every presidential election since 1980). He still lived in the little town of Tuscumbia with a population of just 8,400 citizens and as badly as he wanted to get out he was just breaking even. There wasn't enough time to plan a move let alone afford one.
The confusion that sat on his chest, heavy as an elephant, wore him down. He still stood there after five minutes. Luckily, there were five to ten other booths in which to process the other voters, but he was still feeling pressure to not only make a choice, but to make the right one.
The fluorescent bulbs in the gym beat down on him and created glare on the ballot. The illumination was blinding, and he couldn't stand to look at it for more than a few seconds at a time.
He was so sure of his decision and of his conscience, but the indiscernible hold was strong.
He put down the mass-produced Bic pen and took a few deep breaths. He recalled all that he had read, but what wasn't included in that was the behavior of the candidates as of late.
Candidates were preventing voters from completing their duty.
Candidates and representatives of the GOP were tweeting asinine messages every day.
Candidates were stating they would be open to hanging other candidates.
As he stood there, he was convinced that something needed to change. The state incumbents needed to change if there was any chance. He knew that his vote would not contribute to much. If he voted for the liberal representative, what was the chance that it would matter? Everyone else was sure to vote "straight ticket" conservative.
He picked up the pen again.
He felt the hold release.
He filled in the bubble.
His conscience fell silent.