In the upcoming presidential election I am not voting along party lines. I am not red or blue or even independent. I don't even base my vote on the issues. I am a dyed in the wool gut voter. Believe it or not, looks and feelings have always guided me when voting all these years and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
It all started in 1972 when Miss Podgorski's 4th grade class was voting
on Nixon or McGovern . As the question was posed who would vote for President Nixon so many hands shot up, it looked like a Pentecostal revival. And for McGovern: one bony hairy little arm went up. Who was the die hard Democrat with spider monkey appendages? It was me. But I was beyond party affiliations, I went with what really counted--looks and feelings.
Let my sheep-like classmates follow the whims of their parents over the cliff of mass opinion, I was voting with my heart and deep down I didn't like the way Nixon looked. Smiling, he looked like Howdy Dowdy with dark hair. When he was serious, he looked like a really mean principal. I always expected to see a paddle when his hands were behind his back.
McGovern, on the other hand gave me a warm grandpa-like feeling. He had a nice voice, the kind you wouldn't mind hearing read "Peter Pan" or something. And if you did something wrong, he'd give you a good talk about why it was wrong and not to ever do it again--then he'd take you out for ice cream to make you feel better. In 1972, I believed the country needed a lot of ice cream.
In 1976, I was 14, and like the rest of the country, I was sick of politics because so many of my favorite TV shows were preempted by the Watergate hearings. I liked Jimmy Carter's smile but kinda felt sorry for Ford. So I wanted him to win. I am a underdog supporter at heart.
My first real election in 1980, I voted for the underdog again. Carter
looked so sad and tired. It was a mercy vote but later I felt vindicated by
Irangate and the fact Walter Cronkite said he was the best president.
1984 wasn't that Mondale and Ferraro? I was pregnant at the time and all my radical feminist hormones were suspended so I really didn't care--had Ms. Vice Pres Candidate advocated a national chocolate and potato chip holiday or maybe gave out free Taco Bell coupons, I would have backed her all the way. The fact was I didn't vote that year--I think I was in the bathroom.
Believe it or not, I was with child again in 1988. My son Danny was 5 months old but I was still with him--24 hours a day. ELECTIONS? I DIDN'T HAVE TIME FOR ANY STINKING ELECTIONS! It was wash this, powder that, feed, burp, and please oh please go to sleep so mommy can take a nap...If there had been a candidate who would look for Danny's pacifier , answer my three year old daughter Niaz's questions and maybe vacuum the carpet, I would have voted for him, her, or it for that matter! Future presidential candidates take note: this is the key to the Mommy Vote.
But seriously, in 1988, though I liked the sound of Dukaksis' voice, he didn't seem to be presidential to me. I saw him being an M.C. at a resort talent show in the Catskills. The Bushes were ok--I liked the fact that they weren't totally white bread having a Hispanic in their family and all. I also loved Barbara's take-me-as-I-am attitude. Having a gut like a deflated balloon and stretch marks down to my knees, I really still carried a lot of resentment for Nancy's size 4 dresses--that year I voted for Barbara.
By 1992, I had returned from Mommyland and was in school so I was in a better position to make fairer judgments about who should run the country. I had just learned that it really doesn't matter who the peons vote for because of the its only the Electoral College votes that count. (I'm sure I learned this in high school but I was sick that day) . If that wasn't depressing enough, then I learned that is really it's the special interests and the Military Industrial Complex that control the country! So when election time came--I again voted my heart.
After 12 years of Bush in positions of power--more if your count his CIA stint, I was looking for a fresh young face. Dan Quayle was cute for about a minute but he couldn't handle the media so he got handled. I guess my flaming feminism was dying out because I admired a man who could hold his own.
Clinton didn't impress me at first but then a news crew caught him griping out a secret service guy-I thought he had moxy. Okay to be honest, that year I voted for Clinton because I didn't have health insurance. It was that simple---Okay, and because I had a crush on Al Gore. When it came to it I mean, by then my marriage was on the skids and Gore looked pretty good to me. My husband said he voted for Ross Perot because he had interesting things to say but to me his voice was too similar to my three year old son Danny's voice which was high pitched enough to make dogs cry.
In 1996, I voted for Clinton vindictively. Because if my future ex said, it was black then I said it was white whether I was right or not. Not the wisest course of action but it sure felt good. Actually I liked Clinton by then. I liked that he spent so much time focusing on language. Being a writer that impressed me. Little did I know he would take language to his defense with the Monica thing-what does humiliation really mean?
Truth be told in 2000, I voted for Gore. Why? Because he was still cute, he liked trees and I thought maybe just maybe I could catch his eye. Hey, I was recently divorced --a girl can dream can't she? I mean, how long can a man be married to someone named Tipper anyway?
I think I took a breather in 2004 because Kerry seriously reminded me of my vice princpal at Crosby Elementry school in El Paso,Texas, who was always trying to take pictures of us smoking across the street and had a file on me that was probably shipped to the FBI marked future radical.
In 2009, I voted for Obama partly it was because everyone really didn't think he would win in the beginning and also my Baha'i sensibility made me think it was a sign from God-- you know, race unity in 2009?...well, my Baha'i friends get it. Actually, I even with my faith and all that spiritual certitude, I was still kinda blown away when he won.
This time around it is a no brainer. I just like Obama's swag. And Michelle's got her own swag too and presidental surrogate, Bill Clinton probably has the most swag of all. But it is out of true altruism that I vote for Obama in 2012. It is to protect the jobs of all those Fox News folks who would be unemployed if Romney were elected. You know their ratings would sink like an anvil. I mean, who wants to hear day after day that Romney made the trains run on time?