In 1988 the United States voted for President. I was six years old and in first grade. I remember my teacher giving a class assignment – each student had to draw a poster in support of a candidate. I didn’t know anything about the candidates. I didn’t know anything about politics at all. I chose the shorter of the two names just to make it easy. Plus, the other guy’s name made me think of poop and I was six. I chose George HW Bush.
I distinctly remember going home and telling my parents about my day, and the horror on their faces when I told them I voted for the Republican. I remember them telling me, “oh no. We vote Democrat. Always vote democrat.” I don’t ever remember them telling me why. Neither the teacher who created the assignment or my parents who disagreed with my choice told me anything about the candidates beside their party affiliation. I remained ignorant of the process and confused why it really mattered what a six-year old thought.
In High School my history teacher passed out voter registration cards. This was when I registered to vote. I checked off “Democrat” and turned it in. My mom took me to vote that year and I chose Al Gore. In my excitement to make such a decision I didn’t vote on anything else on the ballot. I didn’t even notice there were other things to decide or other people to choose. Nobody told me. Nobody ever explained to me how to vote. Everyone assumed I would know the candidates and what they stood for. I was just mailed a little paper card and expected to understand the process. I didn’t.
My next presidential election I knew better. The sample ballot actually made it to me and I read it. I looked up the candidates, both for president and for local offices. I tried to decide who of my choices thought like me, wanted what I wanted, and wasn’t a total tool. My sample ballot was covered in little notes and eventually names were highlighted as my final decision. I voted my heart. My heart wasn’t Democrat across the board. My heart was a mixture of parties specific to what was important. My heart lost most of its choices, even for President. It was the first time I had ever heard conspiracy theories about rigging elections. It was the first time I realized politics are crooked. It gave me all the more incentive to stay involved.
2008 was an amazing year. The Democratic party nomination was between a woman and a black man. It was exciting and the debates were heated. Both nominees attacked the other, because that is how the game is played. You needed to look past the petty attacks and really examine the nominees and what they were saying. I remember sitting in my living room with my mom and my young niece discussing our options. My niece thought it would be cool to have our first female president. She didn’t even know we had also never had a black president – a glaring example of how the younger generations are so much more accepting and open. I liked them both. I chose Barack Obama. My defining reason was simple – I didn’t think our country was in a place just yet to let a woman win the job. I was scared of another Republican president and was certain a black man could win overall. He won the party and, as you all know, the presidency. He won the presidency twice.
I could go on and on about why Barack Obama has been a great President of the United States. It’s crazy to me that people still try to argue against that fact. Of the few people who can actually give me reasons as to why they don’t like him – almost all of them should be placing the blame of their particular grievences on Congress. I would vote him in for a third time if it were possible. We would all be better off.
It is now 2016 and I find myself having political discussions with my children and their friends, who are the most receptive to what is important for the future of our country and our planet. I love listening to their thoughts on what is going on within our country and why it is important. I have yet to find the need to give my own opinion, because they all seem to say what I think for me. They need to learn now how to make these choices and they are already so far ahead of me at their age.
I find myself inclined to teach every adult everything I can to avoid a potential catastrophe. I find myself compelled to make sure others truly know their role in our government. I find most adults won’t listen to me.
People are stubborn. People have underlying and veiled prejudices. People are lazy. People are easily swayed by the media. The common people are ruining this country. Yes, you read that right. It’s not the politicians making us a laughing stock. It’s us. It’s you. It’s everyone. If you don’t do the research you are the problem. If you let your husband, wife, teacher, pastor, or friends make your decisions you are the problem. If you blindly cast your ballot out of party loyalty you are the problem.
In the 2016 Primary Election for the Democratic party I chose Bernie Sanders. I believe in everything he stands for. He lost. I looked at my other options.
– Follow party and choose the Democratic nominee, who I don’t love, but I agree with.
– Take a stand against corruption and choose a third party nominee, who may be gaining steam but won’t gain enough support to win this year, no matter what you think.
– Choose the Republican nominee, which normally would not be out of the question for me but is this year since he may be the anti-christ (if you believe in that sort of thing).
I guess you know my choice. This year I choose Hilary Clinton.
To quote myself from a Facebook comment, “Since nothing is completely up to the president I can only choose the candidate I feel not only understands politics, but has a good enough relationship with others in power, both foreign and domestic, to get at least a fraction of the changes done that I want [or continue on the positive paths already begun]. One thing has become clear to me in just this past week and that is that Clinton has her supporters in all political sides and that means a far greater chance of ending all the childish stalemate we’ve dealt with the past eight years. I’ve only heard Republicans backing Trump, only Independents and a few Democrats backing Stein, only Libertarians and a few Independents and Democrats backing Johnson. However, I’ve heard and read support of Clinton from Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, and Republicans. That means something to me, especially when our country’s biggest problem is we spend far too much time, energy, and money fighting each other in Congress instead of working together.”
You can try to sell me on sensationalized reasons not to vote for her, and I can show you facts. You can try to tell me Trump will “make America great again”, and I can ask you for examples as to how he will do that and then wait while you say nothing. You can explain to me how important it is to stand up against the big business of politics, and I will stand my own stubborn ground that while your intentions are correct this is not the year to take that final blow. Continue building steam and know when to strike. I do not feel it is now.
Nobody can tell me I am uninformed. Since my first vote at age 18 when I realized I didn’t know what I was doing I have read, I have researched, and I have kept myself informed. Have you? I truly hope you have and if you haven’t, I know someone who has been trying desperately to teach you…