Disenfranchised Republican

When I went to vote this a.m., I handed my ID to the guy, since my last name can be tricky. He looked for several minutes in the box with the cards. Then he asked if I was in the right place (there is another area in this room, for people in a different neighborhood, I presume). And I told him that this is where I have always voted. He then reviewed the bound paper list, found my name, but could not figure out why it was there, yet not in the box with the cards. Then he realized what was going on and rather exclaimed, "Oh, you are a Republican!" One of the ladies sitting next to him said, "Oh, one of those." I said I assumed they had not seen too many of "my kind" that morning, and she said I was the third. Then, being the open person I am, I eagerly said I was coming to rock the vote and vote for Ron Paul. One of the women commented that she liked some of the things he had stood for, perhaps to try to make me feel as if I was not voting for a terrible person, being the non-Democrat Ron Paul is.

I ended up calling the Marty Griffin show on KDKA since he was asking people what kind of experiences they had had at the polls. When I recounted my story, he asked if they took my picture or made me wear a giant X, to which I replied, "Just the scarlet letter X" (which really should have been an R). Then when I hung up, he said something like, "Yes, ladies and gentlemen, there are Republicans in Allegheny County!" I have to say, the thought never occurred to me that not many Republicans would be voting, but of course I can see why.

Some people think my vote is wasted, but how can that be when I am voting for someone who stands for most of the things I support? I feel good about what I did, and I (and Marty Griffin) got a laugh out of it. Besides, Jordan did the actual voting (even though she was probably not allowed to do the touch-screen), although she said as we were walking out, "That was boring." I think I had built it up a little too much before we left when I said we were going to rock the vote. Clearly she was expecting something a little more lively, perhaps with music. I explained to her voting was not fun, but it is important to vote for the people who are running the country. I left it at that, knowing that even that comment is over her head.

Regardless of all that, after today, Pennsylvania will lose its significance, its place in the spotlight. But everyone who voted today, assuming they voted with their heart, should feel good about doing the right thing. And hopefully come November, when we do it all over again, the best man or woman will win.


-e said…
I got to vote for Paul, because Romney wasn't on the ballet, and I didn't feel like writing him in, and I wasn't going to support McCain. The I voted for Melissa Hart. That was it. I've spent all this time thinking I should just give it up and switch to the party of my convictions, the Libertarians, but I have resisted, because I wouldn't get to vote in the primary. The hell with that. I'm a member of one of the "major" parties and I still, for all practical purposes, didn't get to vote in the primary. The time has come to switch. At least until the damn religious right gives me my party back...

I will say, in Pine Township, it is the exactly opposite - they're almost all Republicans up here. The polling place was nearly empty today - why bother rubber-stamping some moron like McCain?
Facie :-) said…
Happy to hear Dr. Paul got your vote. I was surprised to find out about a half dozen people I know voted for him, including my mom who in the a.m. said she was not going to because she thought her vote would be wasted.

I just wonder who on the other side will make it. I wish I could like one of them/support more than one or two things about them; their speeches last night, particularly Hil's (I saw only 5 minutes of Obama's), seemed moving enough, and I thought it was great to see so many of their supporters be so into them. I really want to like Hil, but we have had a Bush or Clinton in the White House for 20 years. Please not another 4.

I did not even see how Hart did, though I assume she was running unopposed. I have talked to her a few times; she is a nice enough person, and a good friend of one of my friends, but not in my district.
Ashley said…
I'm a firm believer that comments like yours to Jordan about the importance of voting plant seeds that will influence her behavior and perspectives as an adult. Even if they seem "over her head" right now, if she keeps hearing that kind of explanation as she grows (whether it's about voting, or being kind, or understanding other people's feelings, or religion), then the sum of those comments will lay a foundation for her of what is "normal" and "good." You can't save those conversations for some point down the road, because she won't understand them then either—but for different reasons.

Good for you for voting, and good for you for taking little J and teaching her about our civic duties.
cc said…
I am not sure how the religious right has hijacked the Republican party but nevertheless, I believe it is important to inform yourself of the issues and vote. It is never a wasted vote--remember 2000? Maybe John McCain sees the 30% of votes that Huckabee and Paul received and starts heading back towards the base and away from the center.
Facie :-) said…
One of the most important things I am trying to teach Jordan is tolerance (basically that we are all different and that is okay). I have told her over and over that a person is a certain way b/c God made him that way. Jordan says this freely now, like when she was running faster than I, "Mommy, God made you slow, but me fast." But already she has asked questions like, "Why did God make Patrick (kid at school who has pushed her) mean," and I have to explain free will.

I agree it is important to know the issues, but sadly, most of these campaign promises are just a bunch of hype. I would like to see how Hil has all cars getting 55 mpg by 2030. Either the cars will be the size of the Geo Metro, or it will cost you 45k or 50k to pay for a decent-sized car to be engineered that way. I am pretty sure you cannot make a large car get that kind of mileage, and I just don't see how someone with a large family can drive anything small or afford a $ car like that.
cc said…
I agree most campaign promises are worthless; it's the people who look at the 'D' or the 'R' on the ballot and vote that way regardless of whether or not the candidate has followed through with promises or educated themselves on the issues that absolutely drive me nuts. Even more than the people who vote based on the personality of the candidate or how well he/she speaks in public.
Amy said…
Is it weird that I didn't even have to show my ID to vote? I just gave my name and affiliation and they led me to the fancy computer.
-e said…
Bush, Huckabee, all of the social conservatives who think "defending" marriage is important, etc.

Do I think gays marrying is wrong? Yes - but I'm not interested in preventing them from doing so. Do I think its a constitutional issue? No. The government shouldn't be concerned about what peopel do or believe, as long as it doesn't harm or infringe upon the rights of others.

The government should be lowering taxes and getting out of the way. That's always been what the Republicans have stood for, but thanks to weak-willed people like Bush and Santorum, that's no longer true. Instead they want to legislate morality (and don't get me wrong, this country could use a trip back behind the woodshed on that one), which isn't really the purpose of government in the first place. Some where Hamilton, Franklin, and Jefferson are spinning in their graves...
cc said…
The Republicans got a taste of power when President Bush was elected into office and therefore decided to utilize the power by doing exactly the opposite of what was once the core beliefs of the party and trying to appease both Dems and their base. The whole gay marriage issue was just one of those flavors of the month, not a big reason for the downfall of the party. If President Bush and the Republicans in Congress had cut spending and taxes, passed immigration reform, fixed social security and health care, no one would be talking about the constitutionality of gay marriage. The party has a lot more problems than being anti-gay marriage.

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