Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Elections in the Rearview Mirror of my Mind

Political campaigns; I have seen a few.

I have participated in a few and I have watched a number of them with vested interest.  There is nothing more disappointing than putting your all into a campaign and losing.  So my heart goes out to all those who fought to have Mitt Romney elected. On the other hand there is nothing more exciting than a win on election night.  So I am especially happy for my nephew who worked for President Obama’s reelection.

My first experience with an election was in 1972.  Richard Nixon was trying to stay in the Whitehouse.  He ran on an ending the war platform.  Vietnam was a Democrat’s war and Nixon was the choice to end it with dignity.  And he did, one year after his election.  His choice to allow Watergate to occur made me feel betrayed but opened my eyes to “real politics”.  I did not campaign for him; I worked the polls on Election Day.  It was a wonderful experience.

Four years later I am proud to say I worked to help Jim Thompson obtain the office of Governor of the state of Illinois.  That was the last time I was seriously involved in a campaign.  I was not very involved with Ford, although I am pretty sure I voted for him.  I remember how everyone felt as Gerald Ford was punished by our nation for the sins of his predecessor.

During the Carter administration I began living overseas.  It was interesting to hear the world turn on Jimmy Carter when Iran held the US captive.  I really liked Jimmy Carter but as it turned out no one else did.

I came home to vote in 1980.  I voted early, absentee.  I remember not really knowing who to vote for.  My Dad still liked the peanut farmer but Ronald Reagan really sounded like he could bring it all together.  I honestly can’t tell you who I voted for in that presidential race, but 4 years later I voted for Mondale.  Can’t tell you why I did that, really, except that I felt like Reagan had too much power… as though the country was under a trance.  It was like I expected it was like during the Roosevelt administration…that no matter what was happening the sway of the personality ruled.

Four year later, in 1988, I just could not bring myself to vote for Dukakis, and I liked that kinder, gentler Bush.  I thought he did the right thing by protecting Kuwait.  I thought he did the wrong thing by not taking out Saddam Hussein when he had the chance. 

And then Billy came along in 1992.  I really liked Bill Clinton and voted for him in both elections and felt really betrayed that he could throw his reputation away for a tickle and a pinch.  He was so middle of the road.  It is a road that I really like.  He changed so many things for the better in this country.  By the time 1996 rolled around I was really sold on his hands across the aisle, wheeling and dealing  politicking.  There was no choice with Dole, as he was so very conservative in a southern, religious right, sort of way.  I do not like the mingling of religion with politics in any form.  It gives the government the right to tell you how to run your religion.

What can I say about George W. Bush.  I actually voted for Al Gore but became glad he didn’t win when that whole Florida voting problem occurred.  I think most people were voting against Bill Clinton.  I am glad we had Dick Cheney as the Vice President.  There were many things that the Bush administration did that I disagreed with.  I can’t really recall anything specific but I disagreed enough to vote to Kerry in the next election.

This brings us up to this election.  I have never felt that any of our previous presidents was moving us away from our basic philosophy.  Barack Obama has a different vision for the US and I hope for all those who voted for him that it pans out well.    I have nothing against the man.  I voted for him as our senator from Illinois.  But the White House is no place for someone who cannot cross the aisle, and no matter what the media suggests, the beliefs and feelings of those people need to be respected and taken into consideration.  I have always considered myself a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.   I do not vote on women’s rights (we have them), abortion (It’s already legal and won’t be going away, no matter what anyone spouts) or any number of hot button topics that try to pull at a voters heart strings.  I vote with my pocketbook in mind.  So we’ll see what that looks like after the next 4 years, what the dollar does, where inflation goes.  I hope this new vision helps.  In the meantime buy US savings bonds! Support your country!