Virtual Bourgeois

Just An Analog Guy Trying to Upgrade For a Digital World

I’m Ready!

Posted by Gerald on May 5, 2008

Tomorrow is the NC primary and since I do not have an exam in the morning I’m going to go vote on the way to work.

For people from states that do not regularly schedule their primaries in May, you might not realize how exciting this is.  Someone is actually sort of paying attention to the vote here!  Sure, you almost forget our primary given the press coverage: “Tomorrow is the all important primary in Indiana!  They’re also voting in North Carolina…”  But still.

I actually got a robocall from Hillary yesterday and one from Bill, for Hillary, today.  The blinking light on my answering machine suggests I’ve got another one – maybe Barack?  People who live in cities and are inundated with these won’t get the novelty.  I live in a rural county that, I believe, last voted for a Democratic Presidential candidate when LBJ ran in 1964.  I’m used to robocalls for the local races, but I’ve NEVER gotten one here for a national race.

I spent much of the evening at the website for the NC Center for Voter Education.  I made my picks for President, Governor, and the person who Elizabeth Dole is going to defeat in November (my least favorite Senator – I preferred Helms, he at least had an honest commitment to this state) already.  My task was to figure out who I wanted for the Council of State posts (Labor Commissioner, State Auditor, etc…).

I started out with the NARAL and NCEA (the teacher’s non-union in our “right to work” paradise – affiliated with the much hated NEA) voter guides.  Then the Center for Voter Education website, which has a collection of podcast interviews with most of the candidates for state offices, including the non-partisan judicial posts.  I decided that to just reject those who didn’t interview out of hand.  If you can’t find time for this, you don’t have time for the job.  That got me through everything but our district court race and that sorted out through some judicious searching through on-line articles from our local papers.

So tomorrow morning I’ll head out for the polls armed with my list (written on the back of an Oxfam envelope) and go hit my polling place.  As usual, I’m sure the workers there will be surprised to see an actual breathing registered Democrat come in to vote.

I remember my father taking me in with him to vote sometime back in the 1972 election (he was a Nixon man to the bitter end).  Standing next to him in the old voting machine, he picked me up to let me press the lever for Nixon.  That moment had a sacred quality to my young mind that going to church never had.  I have had a certain sense of religion, but I once had faith in the United States of America.  As I grew up, I was more excited as a teenager about the prospect of voting than I was about driving.  I volunteered for my first political campaign when I was 16.  One of my teachers was running for county commissioner.  I got my first experience with cold calling, knocking on doors, and with angry people who didn’t want Wheel of Fortune interrupted and didn’t want to see me in any case – good experience for when I later worked as a bill collector in college.  He didn’t win, which some might take as proof of the divine.  I kept that excitement through college.  I loved election night.  I was a politics junkie.  That survived my switching ends of the political spectrum, a growing maturity in my understanding of my country, and even Bill Clinton’s decision that the sexualized needs of his ego were more important than his party, his presidency, or even the dignity of his office.

That all ended in 2000.  Bush the Younger was the first candidate I had opposed not just because I disagreed with him (as I had his father) but because I thought he would be bad for the country.  His smarmy self-satisfaction and total lack of engagement just seemed so clear to me.  Still, after Florida and the courts, I told myself that his victory wasn’t so bad.  The republic had weathered Civil War and the Great Depression, how bad could he be?

Eight years later I’ve lost most of my remaining faith in democracy and in this country.  Still, for the first time in years I’m feeling an echo of that old excitement.

Maybe there is a chance.



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