Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Election Day Stories and 100th Post!
It's election day! Can you feel the excitement? I can!
Recently, Bev at How Sweet the Sound posed an interesting question. She asked "In which national election did you first vote?" This was a great question for me, because I didn't have such an easy time getting to vote! Here was my comment in answer to her question, with some elaboration on my original answer:
"What a great question! I was so annoyed that I fell just 6 weeks short of being able to vote in 1976 because I was not quite 18. So I had to wait four more years to vote in 1980! The election was between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. I was living in Pittsburgh at the time, and I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter. I had moved to a different apartment shortly before the election, but had registered to vote in my new location. I walked my pregnant self quite a ways to the new polling place, but when I got there, they said I wasn't listed to vote there! I then walked all the way back to my old polling place in my old neighborhood. They said I wasn't registered there either. I would NOT be daunted as I really, really wanted to vote for a president! I called the election board, and they had somehow typed in my address wrong, putting down Pennsylvania Avenue instead of Penn Avenue! That was way on the other side of the city! There was no way I could walk there."
"I had to wait for them to actually take documents to the courthouse and have a judge rule that I could vote at my new polling place. I returned home to wait on the phone call. By this time, Jimmy Carter was clearly losing, and my boyfriend told me that I was wasting my time. I didn't care. I still wanted to cast my vote for Jimmy. Finally, an hour before the polls closed, they called, and I went back to vote. It felt so good!"
I haven't missed voting in a presidential election since then. In fact, I have missed very few elections of any sort. It's easy to take the right to vote for granted. Sometimes it takes pictures like the one below to remember that even in recent history, people in other countries in this world are not always able to vote. Here is a woman in Iran exercising her right to vote, possibly for the first time.
Even in the United States and Britain, women had to fight for the right to vote. It was not easy for the Suffragettes. They were imprisoned and force fed when they went on hunger strikes. By today's standards, the treatment they received would be considered torture.
I feel blessed that these women fought for my right to vote!
Here is another election story. Having a presidential candidate come to visit my town isn't exactly new to me. It was a first in many years for the city I currently live in, but another candidate visited my hometown in 1996. Republican Bob Dole decided to visit the year he ran against Democrat Bill Clinton. A local historian found out that Dole had some local roots, and that a distant relative was buried in an old cemetery. At the time, my father was mayor, and local officials asked him to come to a breakfast in Dole's honor and give him the key to the city.
My father, being a very staunch Democrat, was unhappy with this proposal. He griped that he wasn't for Dole, so why should he meet up with him? I told my dad that this was an honor and a pretty cool thing even if he wasn't for Dole, and that he should go and smile and give Dole the key to the city. Dad was concerned though. What on earth would a small town mayor have to talk about with a senator and presidential candidate? I told him that for heaven's sake, they were the same age, had both served in World War II and had grandchildren, so what wouldn't they have to talk about? I also told him to remember that under all those titles, he was just a man and human.
Later that day I asked Dad how the breakfast went. A huge grin spread across his face. He had sat right next to him! In typical Dad fashion, he said, "I loved him! He was the kind of guy I would love to have as a friend. I would love to have him as a neighbor...I'm just not going to vote for him." He had a great time talking with him. He was so glad that I encouraged him to go meet Bob Dole.
Although Dole didn't win the election, he gained some noteriety afterward. Remember the Viagra ads? I think he showed a lot of courage by being the spokesperson for this product. It's not just any man that can get on national television and confess that he couldn't get his willy up! I think he used this in a positive way though.
If you haven't got out there and voted yet today, what are you waiting for? Log off and get out there!
Hopefully you've read down this far. This is my 100th post. Unfortunately, I am not able to do a giveaway right now. This will have to wait for a while. However, I am going to borrow an idea from Rue (Heather) at Rue's Peanut Butter and Jelly Life. Here is the deal, you can ask me any question you want and I will answer it in a future post. You can either email me or you can leave a question in my comment box.
Let the fun begin!