Vote!

On this election eve, I was trying to recall the first time I became aware of a presidential election.

It was 1968 and I had watched Robert F. Kennedy as he left the podium in LA and walk towards the kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel, only to be shot in the head by Sirhan Sirhan. The Democratic Convention decided on Hubert H. Humphrey to run against Republican Richard M. Nixon.

As I waited for my mother to finish brushing my hair on election day, we watched the television. The pictures of both candidates were displayed. I remember telling my Mom that I hoped, “the man with the nice face”  (Humphrey) would win. The other man, (Nixon) I declared, “looked mean and scary.” Out of the mouths of babes….

When I turned 18 my sister-in-law and I went down to the Supervisor of Elections office in Ocala, Florida and proudly registered to vote. We were pretty excited to register since this was going to be our first election and it was a presidential election! I have voted in every election except one (1984.). I was in college and forgot to request an absentee ballot.

Both my son’s are now old enough to vote. I have always stressed the importance of exercising their right to vote. I hope they never forget the privilege casting a vote, and letting their voice be heard.

I do not like the current state of our political system, but I am a student of history, and know that ugly politics and mud-slinging has been going on since we became a nation. What I do like to see is a great voter turnout. I grew up in the apathetic 70’s- early 80’s when so many younger people felt disillusioned with political figures, and the whole system. Election turnout hit all time lows.

I strongly believe in the secret ballot. We don’t crowd into a room and raise our hands- we vote, by secret ballot. Don’t ask me who I voted for, I won’t tell you. It’s my vote. I don’t need a sign in my yard, because the only person who needs to know about my vote is me. In that voting booth it’s just me and my conscience.

Whatever the outcome, please vote. Whatever the spin  pundits put on the election, whatever the polls predict, please go exercise your right to vote.

© annettealaine-2012

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