Passing the Baton

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I do not consider myself “Political”….at least I didn’t used to….

As an American, this particular election cycle, and tomorrow’s inauguration of a new President has me reflecting on my own journey in politics.

I can vividly recall a rainy night, probably 1968, when my siblings and I got packed up into the car so my Mom and Dad could take turns going into a garage a few blocks away from my Southern California Suburban home.  Besides the rain, what I remember most is my Dad saying “I don’t know why we do this when we just cancel out each other’s vote”.

Somehow, even as an eight year old, I knew that casting a vote was an honor, and privilege   for all that earn that right.  I confess I have not participated in every possible election, but I have not missed a presidential voting opportunity since I was eligible in the 1984.

When I went to college, I had NO CLUE, what I “WAS” (in more areas that just my political affiliation).  I think for most of us, we grow up hearing our parents, their friends, other relatives – the adults- “opinionate” and discuss and then sort of find our place in all of it.  Since I didn’t grow up with 24 hour TV (like today), and a channel for every viewpoint (dare I say propaganda platforms), I don’t think it was super obvious for me what I would do in my first eligible presidential election.  I’m sure my thinking was…Oh, Hell..who am I kidding… I know I didn’t even bother to think about it.

I signed up for the organization Young Republicans because it earned me a point toward a better room in the sorority house. I attended a large conservative private college, so I wonder (with laughter) if there even was a Young Democrat or Young Independent or Young OTHER party to align myself with.  I didn’t attend any meetings or actually get involved.  As I say, it was a way to get something else.

In the Spring of 1984, I attended a rally on campus for the Democratic Candidate, Walter Mondale.  I’m sure I went to meet some cute guy, or one of my classes conveniently ended and I just found myself there.  I know I did not make a conscious decision to attend.  With a student body made up of predominately “Young Republicans”, I still find it a mystery that his campaign organized an event on campus.

I was not prepared for the behavior of the student body.  I was shocked and distressed and embarrassed when a large percentage of kids starting booing and shouting put downs at a candidate for POTUS.  It was a game changer for me.  I was startled into a reality check.  I think I had an awakening at that moment.  It didn’t matter his views, I was rocked to my core that “audience members” would treat a speaker with so much disrespect.  I remember getting on my bike and riding away.  I didn’t want to be part of it.  For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to be part of the peer group.

I sought the council of my level-headed paternal grandfather that election.  He didn’t tell me how to vote, or who to vote for.  We had an “adult conversation” and when I asked, “How Do You Decide?”  He taught me, “Sometimes you just have to go with your gut”.

I have voted for Democratic and Republican candidates.  I’ve registered numerous times to change my affiliation.  I voted for the person and the issues.  I never just voted the Party Line.  I sort of named myself an Independent …at least I viewed myself as an Independent Thinker.

Over time, the places I lived, the jobs and direction of my career(s), the people I met (and married – LOL) began to shape my views and that, of course, aligned me to various political participants.  Becoming a parent, and looking at their future, was probably what motivated me to become much more involved in the process.  (Or… I’ve become my grandma who watches “talk shows” in the early evening – now SHE was a liberal political junkie!!!)

BigTreeLittleLeaf really got me thinking about Hiding.  In her post, If I Can’t Hide, Then Who Am I? She shares the things in her life she hid, along with her drinking.  It made me really take a look at myself…especially after this political season.  I was AFRAID to reveal who I really was as a voter   …my beliefs, my views, my preferences…because I was afraid of what others in my “highly conservative” village would think of me.  I Hid.

As a result, most probably thought I aligned with their Hillary Hate, and gun-carrying justifications, and Fox News Nuttiness.  I would bring up other points of view in conversation, but I think I did it in a way that some of the villagers simply thought I was enjoying a pot stirring moment.  I never truly shined a light on who I was and what I was thinking about….

I didn’t proclaim my “side” on social media.  I stayed hidden. (But I did have to stop following some people -including a cousin who sounded just like her father-my uncle- who used to get into every post Election Thanksgiving with my liberal grandmother-that ended in shout out matches at the kitchen sink.  Of course, it’s my tribe, so there was always cocktails involved to fire up the adults.)

I noted this in myself after a family reunion this summer (during the Republican Convention), and it didn’t sit well with me, and so I got “brave” before the first debate and sent my father a funny joke … (that’s always a bridge for communicating with him). Although I never told anyone I had voted for Obama, he just figured my sister and I were his “daughters who negated his vote”… {and we are back to the rainy night in ’68}

What joke did I textCLICK HERE.  This post is not intended to start up any debate or rankle anyone’s choices, or set back anyone’s “progress” since November.  I share it as part of my relationship with my Dad and my first attempt at coming out of my hiding place. 

He tried to sell me on some crazy stats he had picked up on some highly slanted website, informed me that I should call my brother because “He would set me right”… and some other rant type words.  I respectfully disagreed, and told him what HIS father taught me at my first election…“Sometimes you just have to go with your gut”.

I also had one “friend in the village” who phoned me a couple weeks before the election.  She led in with “I think you are my only friend that I suspect is voting for HER”.  I was honest, I did not hide, I am well informed…but I didn’t call her out for fake news hysteria…but I was taking baby steps out of the dark corner.  (As a sidenote, I just got a call from her in the middle of this post asking my thoughts on the Inauguration and Women’s March…it was spirited, respectful, healthy, and I voiced stronger stances with her today…)

Which leads me toward a conclusion.

I voted for Obama in 2008 (mostly because I couldn’t support the other candidate and running mate), and when the election results were announced, I looked at Mr. and said “Do you think he really wants this job”.  I was optimistically hopeful.

I voted for Obama again in 2012 because I truly felt he was the best person for the job.

And as he Passes the Baton, I feel my life and the future for my children, have been improved because of his leadership.  I have nothing but an overall positive opinion of his time in the White House.

I did not vote for Trump.  Although I will admit, I like the idea of a Business Man’s perspective on this “JOB”.  As I said to my Dad even before the debates and other circus acts unfolded… I believed that there needs to be change.  But I did not believe that Donald Trump was THAT change agent.  I still do not believe he is…

But tomorrow he will be my President.

Always Keep Hope in Your Heart is a phrase I came to live in my core (especially through seven years of infertility)

I will support POTUS with an open heart. I will watch the inauguration tomorrow, and I will be optimistically hopeful.

I am also very excited for the Women’s March on Washington this Saturday. I think it is great that people are NOT hiding. They are coming out to gather and join together in communities to support a vision of unity principles.

Their mission:

We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.  -Women’s March Mission 

I used to hide…now I seek.

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….Wonder what I will find?

 

3 thoughts on “Passing the Baton

  1. Very Patriotic and well said. It’s about our nation coming together for a common goal.
    “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice”~President Trump

    Like

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