Tuesday, November 7

The Best Tuesday of the Year

I don't know where my love of politics stemmed from--my parents certainly didn't instill in me my sense of civic duty. But even so, I can clearly remember election night, 1984, and how I sat glued to the television, feverishly anticipating the results. I will let you in on one of my most terrible secrets--so terrible, that I don't even know if I've ever told anyone in my life. This will be a true true confession for my blog--a glimpse into the darkest recesses of my soul.

I supported Reagan.

Oh, god--that was hard to type. Yes, at the tender age of 11 I truly believed that if Walter Mondale won the presidency, my entire world would sink into chaos. My only excuse is that like most children, I was vehemently opposed to change, and because Ronald Reagan was president, he should stay president--a child's logic, perhaps, but that was the extent of my political philosophy at the time.

That was my earliest memory of politics. As a teenager, this seemingly inherent interest in politics was fed by the political activism of my church youth organizations. Add to that a youth leadership conference I attended in Washington D.C. my junior year, and then throw in a most amazing government teacher my senior year, and by the time I turned 18 I was one of the most civic-minded young women you could imagine. I registered to vote on my 18th birthday, but an election didn't roll around for another year-and-a-half, so by the time I entered my polling place in 1992 (I was first in line when the Elk's Lodge opened), I was utterly giddy with anticipation. Of course, by then my pre-pubescent flirtation with Republicanism was over, and I voted for Clinton.

Since that day, I have voted in every election but one--I was unable to vote for Clinton a second time in 1996 because I was living in Scotland. I have watched every presidential and vice-presidential debate. And every election day I am glued to the TV or radio, just like I was in 1984, to hear the results.

And then today I almost didn't vote.

I forgot to change our address when we moved, and I thought that we wouldn't be able to vote. I decided that it was no big deal...after all, I just had a baby and surely our forefathers would forgive me this one oversight? So I went to bed last night accepting my non-participation this year. But when I woke up this morning, I knew that I had to vote. I had to. I remembered how much I loved to see when people brought their kids with them to vote, and how I always swore that if I ever had kids I would do the same. I imagined Thomas Jefferson shaking his head in disappointment. I had to take Matilda to vote! So this afternoon, Ian and I took the baby and went to our old polling place, hoping that since we never changed our address we were still on file there.

And we were. Thank God.

It didn't matter that I hadn't researched every candidate because I just voted a straight party ticket. Technically, I'm an independent voter, but I've developed such an intense animosity towards Republicans the past few years that it just feels so good to punch "Democrat" every time, regardless of whose name appears above it. It's like my own personal "fuck you" to the president and to the Republican-controlled congress. That's why I have to vote. No matter how much I disagree with the current administration, I always have the right and the privelege to vote for change. That is what is great about being an American...it's not a ribbon magnet on the car or saying the pledge of allegiance or setting off fireworks on Independence Day...it's that 5 minutes we spend for one Tuesday a year in a polling booth.

No, this is not the line to The Jungle Cruise; this is our polling place

Matilda helps Daddy vote

Whew! It's exhausting to perform my civic duty!


Doug said...

Give in to the Dark Side...

Doug said...

Oh, and at my polling place (next door), I only had to wait three minutes (and that was only because the man in front of me in line had to get a conditional ballot). Apparently Nevadans (?) are more patient.