The latest <a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/magazine/02serial-t.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink “>installment</a> of The Girl in the Green Raincoat is up at the New York Times site, and I realize it has an unusual bit of serendipity going for it. In it, Tess’s father, a longtime muldoon (to use the Baltimore vernacular for a political foot soldier) makes a startling confession: He went almost forty years without voting. This is a shocking revelation to Tess — almost as shocking as the fact that he first met her mother when she was someone else’s date. He points out that Maryland didn’t really need his vote in the presidential election.
And, it’s true, because of the Electoral College system, a lot of us would be justified to stay at home Tuesday. But don’t, okay? I voted absentee, in anticipation of canvassing, and I am going up to Pennsylvania, where I volunteered on Election Day 2004.
By the way, I didn’t plan to have “Green Raincoat” function as a get-out-the-vote public service announcement. Last spring, when the Times editor and I first began batting around ideas, she suggested I consider a political subplot, but I couldn’t see it.
My politics are pretty transparent, although I seldom talk about them. That’s a consequence of my own upbringing by a man who covered politics for most of his journalism career. My father considers his vote, even his party affiliation, a private affair. Lately, I’ve been surprised to discover that I have some friends who are voting for the Other Guy, but so it goes.
Meanwhile, an aside about the New York Times: The copy editors there have pulled my fat out of the fire so many times that I can’t begin to thank them.