Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pay it Forward

Happy Election Day!

I hope you each got out to vote in what is a historic election and hopefully the last one that goes on for what seems like forever! My vote is cast, and I picked up my free Starbucks coffee on the way home. I would rather have had the Ben & Jerry's ice cream, but I didn't want to deal with downtown parking.

This is my 8th presidential election. The first one was in 1980. It was the only election in which I registered as and voted as a Republican. To this day, I'm not sure why I did it other than that (a) my parents were Democrats, and I was rebellious and (b) I didn't think Jimmy Carter was doing a very good job with the fuel crisis and with the Iran hostage crisis. Not that it affected me one iota, but mortgage interest rates were in the double digits, I kid you not. When we talked about financing home loans in my senior year of high school. we figured amortization with the average rate of 10%. Crazy, huh? We had gas lines and fear, terrorists running the Middle East and getting us over a barrel, and our economy was in the toilet. Sound familiar? So I voted for change.

My dad would have been very disappointed in me if he had known that I voted for Reagan. He despised Reagan and spent an inordinate amount of his free time (which he had lots of due to his lung cancer) drawing political cartoons and spouting forth about the evils of Reagan and the Republican party in general. My parents were poor farm kids from Georgia, pretty much like Jimmy Carter. Carter was also a friend of my uncle's (Mom's brother) who was a big muckety-muck in the Georgia Farm Bureau (the same org which now pounds their chests and supports the GOP). They all wanted Carter elected to a second term, and since they were all children of the Depression, they figured we could all tighten our belts and get through the tough times.

People like me changed all that. We voted for change. We wanted fresh blood in the White House, even if it was Hollywood blue blood. Lots of people made fun of Reagan because he was more actor than politician, because he had very little experience outside of California, and because he seemed too polished. I believed him when he said he had great economic ideas and could get us out of our hole. In some ways, he did, but it eventually hurt the country in so many ways. But the hostages came home, the economy did begin to rise again (coincidence? I don't know), and the Berlin wall came down. He also abused his power quite a bit and began the long battle that switched dirt-poor farmers from being staunchly Blue to being quite Red.

It was later that I began to question my choice. I was horrified when I looked at my mailbox after we moved to NC and began seeing love letters from the likes of Jesse Helms. ((shudder)) I started really paying attention to what was going on in the world and I started digging deeply into my conscience to figure out where I stood on the issues. When my brother-in-law, who is a deep Red, asked me why I voted Dem, I told him that party affiliation is only one thing I look at. "It gives me a place to start," I said. After that, I really look at the issues and where my potential candidate stands on those issues. I have no problem voting across party lines. It doesn't make me lose sleep. At one point, after Hillary lost the primary, hubby and I started looking at which remaining candidate we would vote for. We like McCain for many reasons, but he lost us the day he named Palin as his running mate. We stopped listening to him, because that seemed like such a bald-faced ploy to get Hillary voters on his side. Then we really payed attention to what Obama was saying. Eventually we made our final choice. It wasn't because of emails or political cartoons or word of mouth. It was a decision made based on our consciences.

Today I received a package. It was waiting for me on my doorstep when I returned from voting. Poetic, don't you think? Scrawled across the front in red Sharpie, it said, "CERAMIC TILE! BE GENTLE!" Hm, I didn't order any tile samples...didn't recognize the sender...

And then I opened it - YAY! I got my package from Daryl at Out & About in NYC who awarded me something "New Yorkish" for my comment left on her site during the Pay it Forward contest. Excuse the fact that these are cell phone photos. I couldn't find my camera (though it's probably right under my nose), so this is what you get. What the gifts are: (1) a ceramic tile with a map of Manhattan under glass and (2) a New York license plate keychain. It will all go nicely with the New York Yankees logo that the previous owner painted on the back wall of the garage. (Hubby wanted to paint over it with a Detroit Tigers logo, but like most projects, that hasn't been done yet!) Thanks Daryl!!!

Here's where I pay it forward -- the first THREE comment leavers today, November 4, will get a prize; something Maryland ... then they have to pay it forward.

Ready? Go!

Peace - D


Cloudia said...

Great post today, RiverPoet:
Thanks for sharing your political autobiography!
Yes, isn't Daryl and her NYC blog cool? Glad you won.
I blogged about voting today too....Aloha from Waikiki-

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Woo hoo! You got your NYC schwag! Yippee! I want Maryland stuff! Me! Me! Just not my Uncle R who lives in Centreville. That? I could do without. :)

Moannie said...

Dear River poet, I am not commenting on your post for the prize, please I'm in England for gosh sakes, think of the postage, anyway, by the time i've finished writing there could be six more comments before mine.

I just wanted to say how much i love yur posts, and visit every day, and this one makes it all very clear to me how much I want you all to vote in Obama...I don't know all the ins and outs of each candidate it's just that I have such a good feeling that he is going to bring such change for the good. How can there be racial issues when your President is black? Enough of the same old men doing the same old things and calling it change.

Love and hugs.

Ruth D~ said...

Liked the even-handed way of explaining how you make your decisions on voting. There's a lot to wade through, and emotion has to be pushed aside for intellect . . . and then, you just go for it. We cross our fingers and color in that circle. Who really knows what will come our way in the future?

Lavinia said...

Thoughtful post. I guess I mean it made me think? Or enlightened me further on your thinking process, which is amazing by the way. Congrats on the tile, that is so groovy!

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I also enjoyed reading the political path you have taken. I think many more people do as you do and actually read up on the candidates. That is why I like Jon Stewart using the phrase "purple". I'm a little blue, a little red, and a 100% independent thinker.

Daryl said...

What fun .. cant wait to see who wins your MD stuff ... did I mention the map on that tile is vintage and Central Park is NOT square in reality its very much oblong!


Shrinky said...

Ooops, missed the boat again (story of my life). Ah, don't beat yourself up too hard hon, the first time I cast my vote - hell (blush) I cast it for Maggie Thatcher. In my defence, I was only 18, and the prospect of a female prime minister was too hard to resist.

I soon grew up to be far more sensible (almost).

SandyCarlson said...

It was quite a day, wasn't it?! I voted for change, too. And I was very excited to stand in a very long line full of patient people all politely expressing their points of view on the matter. Very cool.

RiverPoet said...

Cloudia - Congratulations on being commenter #1! I'll contact you to get your address so I can send you some MD memorabilia! Political autobiography, hmm...I like that!

CMGD - Ding-ding-ding! You are winner #2! I'll contact you to get your address to send you some MD schwag!

Moannie - Okay, I'll take you at your word that you don't want me to send you anything. But maybe I'll contact you to get your address for a postcard?

Ruth - I guess since Moannie forfeited, you are winner #3! I'll contact you separately to get your address. Now that this election is finally over, maybe our country can heal. I certainly hope so.

Lavinia - I love that you love the way I think. It's very validating. Today I don't think the political pundits know what to do with themselves. The news is just...weird, but you know? People are smiling. It's great!

NATUI - Yeah, I think purple is my color. I can see both sides of the issues, but eventually you have to settle on one checkbox, right?

Daryl - That's pretty cool about the map. I guess it was drawn before they had accurate surveys and/or aerial views? At any rate, I was showing it off last night to our guests.

Shrinky - The Reagan election was when I was 18, as well. I think it's so exciting to participate in that first election that we just make haphazard decisions. At least I seemed to have. And yet...he was my choice that first time.

SandyC - That's what I've heard from so many people. I'm glad to know that "real" people weren't - for the most part - as rabid as the folks on the boob tube...

Peace - D


Hey Riverpoet, I truly enjoyed reading your blog this evening, you write so well, that is what led me here from another blog I was reading, I love the way u write! And my first election was Reagans 2nd term, lol, just basically following what my dad said I had to do,lol, I voted Reagan, lol,but I did not vote for Obama, but that's ok , it seems over the years they all seem alot the same. I even wrote a political view today in my own blog, but,after reading your blog I don't feel nearly as angry about things as I have earlier today, so thank you!!! lol, take care, Julian :)

RiverPoet said...

Hi Julian - I went over to your blog today and left a little comment that I hope sets your mind at ease for at least one issue. I'm glad you like how I've handled it here...Peace - D

jay said...

That's a really nice idea! It brightened your day, didn't it?

Akelamalu said...

The only thing I remember about Reagan was when he called Princess Diana Princess David!

Great post today m'dear.

Lavinia said...

Hi Riverpoet, I've given you an award over at the birdbath....

ed said...


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