Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We the People

I'm going to do something a bit unusual and preface this post with a brief statement. I realize that politics are, and have always been, a very polarizing issue in this country. Though I am happy to discuss my personal political beliefs if asked, I don't generally bring them up in certain situations where I don't feel the time or setting is appropriate (say a wedding or a funeral). This post is not being written to encite a debate but merely as a way for me to share a bit about my voting history and experiences in the political process. As a result, you may or may not agree with the votes I've cast and that's fine. There is a time and place for debating but this is not it, k? Thanks! Now, on with the post.

As an American, an American woman, no less (and I mean that in every way), it has been my honor and privilege to vote in every major election since I became a legally registered voter in 1991 at age eighteen. I had grown up in a right-leaning home (lord, help me) and, as a result, registered as an independent because that was as brave as I felt I could be at the time, in spite of my left-leaning political bent from the time I really started to understand, as much as a white, middle class, Long Island teen can, the political process and voting as a whole. Clearly, I didn't understand enough because I was crestfallen to discover at the time of my first "legal to vote" presidential primary that I could NOT take part, having not chosen a major party affiliation. Utterly devastated, I made sure to correct that mistake as quickly as possible, albeit too late to cast that crucial first primary vote (which, I'll admit with a cheeky grin, would have been for California Governor Jerry Brown).

Casting my first presidential vote in 1992 was a BIG moment for me. It didn't accomplish as much as I would have hoped within my family but it did serve to cancel out my parents' votes that year. Actually, we all cancelled each other out, my mother voting for (it pains me to say) Bush Sr. and my father, bless his heart, was quite enamored with another wealthy Texan. Still, that was the first time I felt like a major player in the political process. I was SO proud to cast my vote for the soon-to- be-elected Senator William Jefferson Clinton and subsequently, each and every Democrat to run for president (and many other offices) ever since.

I feel it is not only my right but my DUTY to vote, one I do not undervalue, even when elements of the political process, as they often do, leave me cold. Like many others, I do not feel TIED to party lines, though it just so happens that my li'l liberal self does generally choose to vote along them. The mud slinging, often on both sides, is quite disheartening. But I will always, ALWAYS, play my small part come election day, even when I feel like my one quiet voice might not truly influence the outcome (aside from maybe canceling out someone else's vote which, in actuality, is no small feat). Though there are things I do NOT love about the United States, knowing that I have the right to feel that way and express it on election day is one of the things I, in fact, most love about it. Attending my very first political rally, standing mere feet away from our soon-to-be vice president in 2008, was definitely one of the most exciting political days in my life. Watching our first lady's rousing speech last night at the Democratic National Convention was another. Though your politics may not be mine, I felt stirred to write this post to reveal some insight into what the process, and voting, means to me. It is a beautiful thing to know that every single eligible voter in this country gets to play his or her part in this amazing process. I cannot wait to play mine.


  1. I like this post very much! Though i'm not an american i can realeted to the feeling of knowing that you can put a little peace of flour on the giant cake! I feel so bad for me though, because i can't vote in the ellections most important for me because i didn't subscribe. I'm venezuelan, but i live in Argentina, and the BIG ellection is comming on 7 oct and it is the time after 10 years i thin, to get Chavez out. I just CAN'T believe i did't do my work and subscribe... Well i have a lot of expectations but i don't know, not much faith, i think that he (you know who) plays with the votes a lot, and if he wants to i think he can change what the people voted. I'm just praying right now, and hoping things stay calm in Venezuela between the ellection period, for my family. Well, hope everything goes well... Again, so wonderful to share with you, and the rest of this new wave people (i called it The Kjo Army) im proud to be part of this. Xoxo Alba.

  2. We're really similar Kari and that makes me smile. There will be no debate from me, not only because you explicitly stated this was not the place for it, but because I agree with you.

    And your blog always makes me want to write one too. Maybe I'll just copy yours. =P

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Alba, thank you for your comment and for giving me some insight into the political process in your country. Fascinating stuff.

    Sandy, like-minded individuals are ALWAYS welcome here. Really, everyone is welcome here (unless they're asshats) but I appreciate all that you said.

  4. P.S. Eyes on your own paper, young lady.