Thursday, February 7, 2008

Goodbye Super Tuesday

Tuesday – Super Tuesday as it were – was something of an anniversary for me.

The very first time I got to vote was 20 years ago on the very first Super Tuesday ever. It was one of the happiest and most exciting days I can ever remember.

I walked from my house to the elementary school a block away after I got home from high school that afternoon.

I remember that it was raining, but still very bright outside. And it was warm.

I had been in that same gym in Vena Stuart Elementary School maybe a hundred times...going to vote with my grandmother, a die-hard Republican, and as a student there in kindergarten and third grade. I remember all the times I would go into the voting booth with my grandmother and tucked safely behind the navy blue curtain, watch her push buttons and finally pull the lever to cast her ballot. I remember the time a voting official told me I couldn't go in with my grandmother and she waved her cane in the air and gave him what for, telling him that I wouldn't affect her vote and that she wanted me to learn something about electing the people who control our lives.

The day I voted for the first time I felt as if I were carrying something valuable: my right to have a say. Something my grandmother would have had the opportunity to do when she was just one year older than I was when I voted. Born in 1901, she would have turned 19 the year women first gained the right to vote. I cannot imagine how thrilling that must have been.

And yet, I am thrilled each and every time I have the opportunity to exercise my right to vote. I was thrilled this week to learn that our regular babysitter, MD, was going to vote for the first time on Tuesday. I'm sure my glee over this knowledge seemed odd to her, but really, I was just thrilled to know that she had any interest in the political process. I am confident this girl had very strong reasons for casting her vote for a particular candidate and I am curious as to whom she would have voted for. I'm certain that she would not be the kind of woman who would simply vote as her parents tell her to vote. Just as in 1988, on a balmy Tuesday, I voted for the first time and broke with family tradition to cast my vote for my Tennessee homeboy Al Gore.

The first person to vote for a Democrat in my family in decades. And I've never looked back. If he were a candidate, I'd vote for AG in every election. My love and admiration for him has endured and only gotten stronger these 20 years. And even though I had a devil of a time deciding for whom to vote on this Super Tuesday, my love affair with the democratic (or federal republic) process has only gotten more passionate with time, and I was as excited to vote this year as I was that day way back in 1988.


Jeremy said...


My brother always says the only people who have a right to complain about their government are the ones who exercise their right to vote. Smart man, my brother.

rennratt said...

My first election was back in 1992. I broke the family tradition of in-fighting (1/2 Reps, 1/2 Dem) by voting for the Green Party candidate.

I was REALLY popular at Christmas time that year.

Suz said...

I was the sole Democrat in my family until 2000 or so, when my brother got a push-polling call from a Republican candidate and had an epiphany that he was a Democrat! Better late than never, I guess..

I feel exactly the same way as you..and I remember paying the price for registering to vote immediately upon turning 18: I got called for jury duty about a month later! (Got out of it, though, as a full-time HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT! Jeez)