I take a deep breath and enter room with a fold up table in the corner. It has a pot of coffee brewing next to two neat piles of cups. In the middle of the room is a circle of folding chairs with people sitting on them, avoiding eye contact. I take seat next to older male with head poking out of the Wall Street Journal. Someone coughs. The clock on the wall keeps ticking until 2pm. At that point, the meeting starts.
"Hello, my name is Barbara and I used to be a Die-hard Democrat."
When I was a kid, I really was a die-hard Democrat. I knew just about every platform to every political party...(yes, there's more than 2). I could talk politics with my dad and anyone willing to humor a child with the ambitions of a future politician. You wouldn't believe it now if you knew me in real life (outside of facebook and all those other social network sites)...but I once wanted to run for president. That's normal....right?...A kid who wants to run for president?
|Yeah, that's me...|
....blocking Howard Dean...
Like all other kids in my grade, I thought Bill Clinton was cool. I used to get Presidential awards for my grades and would show off the "president's signature" to family and friends (long before I knew of mass-produced laser-printed letters and envelope-licking interns). I met governors, senators, you name it. I unsuccessfully ran for treasurer 3-4 times in high school (not sure if I ran for treasurer or secretary my last year). I even went to NJ Girls' State...which can be described as "government politics boot camp" for high school girls. I used to draw political cartoons (even met Jim Margulies once....and got his autograph on a political cartoon). I used to follow presidential debates. I was so in love with it all...until I became disillusioned by it all.
All the politicians out there made some pretty ridiculous gaffes (a la "Dean Scream," creepy Gore beard, or Palin crib notes)....or some extremely terrible decisions (like supporting abortion). This trend has continued up until today. I know this sounds incredibly un-American...but I have not been able to vote for anyone in these past two elections. It wasn't because I had to means to make it to the voting booths....I had the means, but lacked the willingness. It wasn't because I was uninformed about the state of the world and our nation...quite the contrary. It wasn't even for lack of caring that I refused to vote...I still keep up with current events and I still care. It's just that I could not find anyone worth voting for...at least I have not been able to find anyone worth voting for in the past two elections.
I could not do it...regardless of how many "Vote or Die" shirts I saw two elections ago...and how pressured I was to join the "Hope" bandwagon in the last election. Yes, that's right. I did not vote in the last election. I literally could not bring myself to vote for either Obama or McCain. Both of them had their good points, I am sure...but all their bad points seemed to outweigh these good points. I just could not bring myself to choose one of my principles over another. I just refused to compromise one thing for another. However, the more I see of what is going on in this country....the more I realize that I do need to vote....even if I am just voting to cancel out someone else's vote. Even if I am simply voting against someone (by voting for their opponent) rather than voting for someone (that I actually like).
To this day, I cannot point to one individual that I can vote for with a clear conscience. However, I think that I have to vote in this upcoming presidential election. There's already plenty of shady business going on with this upcoming election. There's already an army of interest groups out there....working on putting their preferred candidate in office. There's already plenty of media coverage and scandal (as usual). Potential voters are already being targeted by political parties, commercials, lies, etc. I've already been inundated with messages from the media and self-interest groups. I already see posters up and news stories up showcasing potential front-runners plastered over images of red, white, and blue.
As much as my younger self would hate me for it...I don't think I can vote Democrat with a good conscience in this next election. Obama has really, really let me down on some very, very essential issues. I'm not saying that the Republicans have been any better and I can already see my inner child kicking my present self in the teeth for not voting Democrat. However, I think I may be at the point where I would feel better about voting any of the other potential candidates than the current president. I am definitely going to keep discerning about this...and will certainly keep myself updated on all the important essentials...but I can say with a great deal of confidence that Obama will not be getting my vote. I mean, I can see myself in an election booth for the upcoming election...and I can see myself voting for someone. However, I cannot see myself voting for Obama. Therefore, I think I will start praying for someone worth voting for to end up on the ballot. I think this particular intention may need all the prayers it can get between now and election time...so any prayers will be welcome.