Harder than Expected
My first presidential vote was cast for William Jefferson Clinton, as was my second.
My third vote was easily cast for Albert Arnold Gore Jr. In the end, I voted for the losing candidate for president. Still, I felt good about my vote and as the Electoral College always gives the (at the time) 3 votes from Utah to the republican, It really didn’t matter who I voted for. If I chose someone other than the GOP, it was a click on the popular vote meter, nothing more.
I never liked George Walker Bush. Threw another vote on the fire for Kerry.
It is obvious who I voted for in 2000. Like many others, I felt I was casting a vote to change history. Though the results of the first Obama presidency will be hotly debated for decades, I still remember how amazing it felt to see the first black president, feel another false barrier demolished.
The line at my precinct was long. It was the first time in 6 elections I have had to wait longer than three minutes. Waiting with so many other people gave me a chance to engage in some great conversation. We discussed our dismay at the line, the beauty of America and our system that allows us the privilege of voting (even if that is only an illusion of choice). No one was frustrated or unhappy. We were all where we wanted to be.
I stood at the voting machine, having already completed the majority of my ballot, and pondered if I could really do what I intended to do. I determined to keep a commitment to myself, one I had promised in two previous presidential elections. I was choosing NOT to vote for the democrat or republican candidate. My research had me leaning towards Jill Stein. I have always liked the Green Party, and Stein’s commitment to environmental job creation interests me.
I found it difficult to submit the ballot. My whole life, I had been sure of my Democratic convictions. Even as I thought of voting for Ralph Nadar in 2004, the pull of my past was too much and I gave in.
I have heard many similar stories.
If the line had been shorter I might have stood there an hour, pondering, but I felt I should allow my fellow citizens the chance to vote as well. It was time to make my decision.
I voted my heart. I voted for Jill.
I don’t regret it.
Instead, I imagine a country where more than two ideologies are valued. Tens of Millions of people with real choices for leadership, voices that more closely match their own. The possibilities are frighteningly wonderful. For the first time (with maybe the exception of the two votes I cast for Bill), I voted for who I wanted to be president. I hope everyone else did the same.