I've been a devoted voter for years. I didn't know I'd feel so strongly about it but it turned out that that when I was eighteen, in 1978, I felt more strongly about it than I had anticipated.
I was a college freshman in Tucson, Arizona and, for the midterm election that year, I searched on foot and found my polling place to cast my first vote ever. I can tell you, there weren't exactly droves of kids from my dorm doing this, but there I was anyway.
I've been doing this ever since, despite the fact that in Arizona my vote, as a mostly Liberal Democrat (okay, as a Jew I am kind of hawkish on Israel) my vote rarely amounts to much. My state never goes for the guy I vote for in a Presidential election and, as a matter of fact, I've been embarassed by my state a number of times. Even right now.
So I'm used to being out of sync with my world, but this election season with the whole Tea Party drumbeat, well, I'm really marching to, um, the beat of a different drummer, so to speak.
I voted by mail the other night. Actually my husband and I did so, sitting in our bedroom, our booklets of propositions laid out next to us, reading and analyzing each one together.
This is the first time I ever voted where I realized that if there had been a Democratic lever of some type - even right there on my bed - I would have pulled it.
Half of what I was doing this time was trying to keep Republicans out of office - people who not only want to roll back all of President Obama's work but perhaps things like Civil Rights and Medicare, people who think that maybe all Americans should look the same and think the same, and the same is nothing like me. It worries me that a fringe movement like the Tea Party, a movement that doesn't talk to anyone, doesn't explain itself, and doesn't answer questions from the media, is now taking over the Republican party, and that the members of that party don't have enough guts to simply stand up to them.
My parents were Holocaust Survivors. They were young when the war started in their respective countries - my mom eleven and my dad fourteen - so they had to live with a certain amount of knowledge that their own parents failed to heed the signs of coming fascism. That they had failed to ascertain when things hit the point of being bad enough to leave, when the signs were all there. And since I was raised by these people, I tend to take this issue pretty seriously. I look around and I wonder - are the signs here? Will it be too late if these people take office, if they make this country unrecognizable to me or to people who think like me?
So this time, unlike any other time, I voted with a vengeance. To not only vote for my candidates but to vote against the other ones.