Today is voting day. I voted. Did you?
I actually voted last week, since Oregon is a mail-in ballot only. I'm sure by the rest of this post, you can guess who I voted for.
Politics has always been a big thing in my family. Since I have gotten married, I have noticed things haven't changed much, just the people that are interested. I was raised to be a free thinker, choose my religion when I was ready, choose how I felt about politics and vote accordingly. As long as I voted. Never let my voice be unheard. My father paid very close attention to all politics. He was very emotional about how he felt, and never let anyone forget it. He was a die-hard liberal democrat, and even being in a conservative Southern California, let his voice always be heard. He changed several of my impressionable friends from republican to democrat. Some of them fight the good fight for it, too.
I remember sitting in the kitchen with my parents, going over the ballots and figuring out what to vote on all measures, candidates and anything else that might come up. We would have explanatory discussions, usually my dad would be the explainer, and then we would hash out our views. Only one time do I remember understanding a description of a measure better than my dad and explaining it to him. I was so proud. I believe I changed his original vote on it as well.
My first major election that I was able to participate in was the 1992 presidential election. I voted for Bill Clinton. I felt it was my first real contribution to “society.” I didn't register for the draft and I hadn't been called in to jury duty yet. My parents were so excited about it, that they waited for me to get off of work so we could all go together. My mom even took a picture. I was a bit embarrassed, still being in the teenage mode of being embarrassed by attention drawn to me by my parents. We went to Hawaii around the time when Clinton was to take office. I was glued to MTV for the inauguration ceremony. I was so excited about the difference that I possibly made. I was so excited about the future.
The second election (1996), I was not as enthusiastic. I was very torn between Clinton and Perot. I thought surely someone who could make and keep the amount of money that Perot had, certainly should be good for the country. But I also liked where the country was going under Clinton's rule. In the end, I voted Perot. We all know how that turned out. At that time, I was dating someone who was raised by a very conservative family, so therefore, he was also extremely conservative as well. We argued constantly about politics and the “evils” of Clinton. I was forced to keep my opinions to myself, if for no other reasons than keeping the peace.
In 2000, I voted for Al Gore. I really liked him, he reminded me of my dad. It was easy to identify with him. My entire family, as well as many of my friends were so disappointed and angry at the atrocities that happened in Florida. I may have mentioned this before, but when my father was dying he talked in his sleep a lot. One day, I was sitting on the couch by his bed and my mom was in the kitchen. Suddenly, my dad started talking. “George, George, George.... You bulbous bastard... George W. Bush.” It was so indicative of how he felt about politics his whole life. I believe he spoke for my entire family. Even though it was sad, we couldn't help but laugh. He passed less than a month later. And I believe that his words still ring true.
In 2004, I voted for Kerry. I believed he was the lesser of two evils. I wasn't that fond of him and his flip flopping, but he was supposedly standing for the things that I believed should remain my rights as a woman and a citizen. At this point, I was very concerned about keeping my healthcare affordable. I got in several arguments with some friends of mine, and they always managed to make me feel stupid, even though my opinions were valid to me. Unfortunately, Kerry lost. And the rest is now history.
This year, is a historic year. Not only do we have an African-American that won the Democratic nomination – with an extremely good chance at becoming our next president, but we also have a woman in the VP slot. While Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman (I believe) to be put in this position, Sarah Palin could very realistically be the first woman in the white house (as VP) and by default if something were to happen to McCain, she would become president. As wonderful as I think that the world has finally moved into doing something this big and accepting, I feel like I have to protect my rights from another woman. That frightens me. I think John McCain has a good sense of humor. But that's as much as I can like about him. I do not like his ideals, or his beliefs. I don't think they would be good, overall, for this country and it's inhabitants. I find Barack Obama to be a powerful being; in speaking, in inspiration, in ideals and beliefs. He inspires me, he makes me have hope again for my future and the future of the world... not just the country, but the world. I am terrified of what would happen if McCain were elected. I do think I have a bit of a crush on Obama. And that's ok. It's good to look up to someone who made it this far and may even be president.
I am excited about the election results. You can bet that I will probably be glued to the TV most of the evening. My husband and I discussed all the measures and candidates, just like I used to do with my parents. We agreed on everything. My parents were both registered democrat. When they would go to vote, people would laugh and ask them how boring their life was – they had nothing to argue about. I guess I have the same thing to look forward to. We are both bleeding heart, tree hugging hippie liberals and very proud of it.
While I do care who you vote for, I mostly care that you vote. Please – make your voice be heard.
Even if it IS for McCain.