Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Election Day!

Election days are always exciting for me. Since I was a small child, my parents kept me involved in the political process. I remember when I was only 6, my mother woke me up in what seemed to me to be the middle of the night - and perhaps it was - so I could hear the election returns coming in on this, the first election that she knew I would remember. To this day I distinctly remember hearing the voice on the radio saying that Kennedy was leading by just 100,000 votes.

I remember having an argument with my friend Sally, whose family were Republicans, during the 1964 election, and telling her that Barry Goldwater "would start World War Three." Mind you, I am sure I did no research of my own to hold this political opinion and was no doubt repeating something I heard my parents say. But my feelings were sincere and my opinion was strong!

Then in 1968 came the tumultuous year that Lyndon Johnson decided not to run, and left the Democratic field wide open. It was the year of McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy, and ultimately, Hubert Humphrey. I was devastated when Kennedy was shot (I found a whole folder of clippings about his death that I'd compiled back then, when I was cleaning out my mother's house last year). Once the candidate was Humphrey, however, I was a strong supporter. I still was too young to vote, but I did distribute flyers. And I remember how uncertain everything was even the next day. We still weren't sure who had won, until finally the bad news was clear: It was Nixon.

In 1972, the first year I could vote, I was in college in Boston, and cast my first vote for McGovern. Massachusetts was the one state that went for him, so I appreciated the bumper stickers that popped up on Massachusetts cars after Watergate broke, saying "Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts."

Since then there have been many more elections; and in the past 10 years I've become involved in local politics; not as a candidate, but as a supporter. I've stuffed envelopes, walked the neighborhood with candidates occasionally, made donations, and made phone calls.

This evening our town's Democratic slate once again swept the election. It is very interesting; when we first moved to this town it was a mainly Republican town. But over the past decade or so, the demographics have changed markedly, and the town has become much more diverse. The population has become younger, and there are many transplanted New Yorkers here now, who all tend to vote Democratic.

So, in celebration of the Democrats, here is today's haiku:

Democratic sweep
All politics is local
We are glad they won.

OK, that was lame. But it's almost midnight and I have to get this posted! NaBloPoMo is becoming stressful!


The Future Was Yesterday said...

The first election results I listened to, was for Dwight Eisenhower's victory. Like you, I wasn't real sure the importance of that, but I was allowed to stay up far past my bedtime, so it must have been important.:)

My political career traces from then, until now. It was heart warming to read some one who walked the same path.

Larry said...

Sadly elections have become more and more of the same no matter who wins.

But you have to choose the lesser of two evils.

Liz Hinds said...

I read about NaBloPoMo on your blog and thought i'd do it. In fact a while ago i planned to do the Write a novel in a month thing that happens in November. Both things i forgot about! But I do blog most days anyway. I don't need encouragement! But keep it up!

pissed off patricia said...

I know what you mean, election day is still an exciting day for me. One of my favorites was when I was standing in line to vote for Bill Clinton. I was so proud to cast that vote because I just felt he would make a great president, and save just a few things that he did, I was right.

Fran said...

I support you and your blogging efforts, plus I love the haiku. Both in form and in your content!

Great post. I too grew up in a political household. Although my parents were democrats turned republicans. You are only a few years older than me, so it is a mirror image of your story.

Except that in second grade I heard that Goldwater wanted school to go 6 days a week. It was my first anti-Republican leaning, but it took awhile for that to take hold!

I don't know if you saw or even care to see this post which is a funny-ish story about my mother the repub!

Anyway things are not as they once were. And that is really sad.

Great great post though!

Mauigirl said...

Future, I remember Eisenhower being President (since of course he was the only one I knew for the first 7 or so years of my life). For some reason I recall seeing "I Like Ike" buttons. I don't know why because my parents wouldn't have had them (they were for Adlai Stevenson).

Larry, I agree, it is all about the lesser of two evils. In our town we have some pretty contentious issues going on, and I sure they might have been handled better than they have been. However, the alternatives would have been a step backwards - and I like and respect all of the Dem candidates and feel they are doing their best for the town. And that's what matters.

Liz, you are always an inspiration as you do blog so frequently. Thanks for the encouragement!

PoP, you are right, I should have mentioned how exciting it was when Clinton won - I still remember watching them dancing around to "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow" by Fleetwood Mac and thinking "Finally! Now we can do something good!" The following years were indeed mostly good and the one fatal flaw Bill had that led him to Monica was greatly hyped up by the partisan Republicans. In France no one would have blinked an eye!

Fran, thanks so much for linking to the story of your mother (I left a comment over there as well). I feel as if I knew her after reading that! And I laughed about the cussing - I can relate!

As for Goldwater and school 6 days a week, goodness, I must have missed that aspect of his beliefs. That would have made me even more against him!

LET'S TALK said...

I recall my family debating Kennedy and the now famous debate between him and Nixon. I recall feeling so sorry for Nixon and the blinking that was pointed out as being nervous and not ready to lead this country.

I am in a rural area in Georgia and most all voters here are Republicans. There is change occurring daily, along with the building of new homes in this undeveloped area here.

I will be so happy when there is more of an equal amount of party representation in this county.

S said...

I like your haiku. I am glad they won, too!

My family used to treat election day as a kind of holiday. There'd be special food, and good company.

I think people used to pay more attention to the privilege and honor of voting, sad to say.

Mauigirl said...

Let's Talk, I know what you mean, I used to feel sorry for Nixon myself. When he was disgraced with Watergate, I felt a certain amount of sympathy for him, sort of like the protagonist in a Greek tragedy, whose character flaws led to his downfall.

Thanks, Slouching Mom, I'm glad you liked it! We too kind of treated elections as a special occasion. To this day my mother still makes sure we get together on the evening of presidential elections and "watch the returns come in." She definitely feels it is something you must do together! I'll be very happy for her if next year she gets to see a Democrat back in the White House. She'll be 89 this December and I know it would mean a lot to her!

TomCat said...

Let's see... in 1964, I demonstrated at the Demjocratic convention, carrting a "One Man, One Vote" sign, and then an AuH2SHIT sign. In 1968, I cleaned up for Gene and helped organize the famous Chicago demonstration. I was in the forefront when Mayor Daley's police attacked the demonstrators.

Yesterdsay was not much of an election day here, because we had only ballot measures.

Mauigirl said...

Wow, Tomcat, you were really in the front lines in the 60's. I always felt as if I was born just a wee bit too late to really participate properly in the 60's. By the time I went to college, the 70's had started and times had started to change.