There is a white jacket hanging in my closet. I’ve only worn it once. The night was cold and rainy. Starless. And I was at a school near 83rd and Quincy armed with a cell phone and a laptop. The back of the jacket said it all – Voting Rights Team. It was November 2, 2004. Election Day. I was at a polling station to make sure that no registered voter was prevented from casting a ballot.
I encountered several instances of dirty tricks and voter intimidation that late afternoon and evening. I still have that jacket, eight years later, to serve as a permanent reminder to my children that we are all responsible to protect our American values. And a key value is the right of every citizen to vote.
I’m no virgin. My first campaign was George McGovern’s in 1972 when I was only 17. But I have had enough. My envelope arrived in Saturday’s mail and my ballot will be completed and mailed before you read this post.
I have allowed the coarseness of this year’s politics to invade my personal space.
Molly Ivins referred to the last President as “Shrub”. We have a long tradition of skewering our politicians. It is part of our Freedom of Speech. It is a freedom that allows both Rush Limbaugh and Jon Stewart to earn a living. But our politicians, our leaders, used to know the difference between parody and reality. Not anymore.
Maybe it was the Congressman calling the President a liar during the health care speech before a joint session of Congress. In the last few years night has become day and up, down. But the debates finished me. We had a guy who thought that he was still a CEO, and as usual, before he fired an underling, he questioned the guy’s manhood and tried to knock him down a peg. Of course, this time Mr. Romney is not the CEO. He is just the other party’s nominee. And the guy he was trying to belittle and fire was the President of the United States.
I am an American. I don’t want anyone to think that they can kick sand in the face of our President. Mr. Obama stayed professional. Watching this at home, I was apoplectic.
So let me end the mystery. Yes, I’m voting for Barack Obama. I’m neither proud nor excited about this, but he is, in my opinion, the better choice. I don’t know if Mr. Romney believes in anything other than his own power and entitlement. That could be dangerous.
Disagree? OK. This is neither an endorsement nor a sales pitch. Make your own choice. I’ve already voted.
Dedicated in memory of my friend Scott, a patriot who would have made a different choice but would have understood and respected my decision.