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.
Peace - D