Jennie T
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My Latest Obsession: Presidential Elections

I can’t wait for Super Tuesday! I love Presidential elections. Yes, they’ve been cause of shock and disbelief (Gore/Bush in 2000), but they’re fascinating to behold. They’ve actually been helping my runs at the gym, as watching commentary on MSNBC (Thank you, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz)  has fueled my time on the treadmill.

I can’t help but be politically active. Part of this has to do with that fact that I was born on the day that Nixon resigned, but my parents were very committed to voting and participating in our democracy. I remember my mother taking me with her when she went to cast her vote in the Carter/Reagan election in 1979. I wanted to play with the pin that actually punched the vote, and thought that the drapes around the little cube were fascinating (hey, I was barely five!). Politics and ballot measures were discussed in our home growing up, with my parents respecting their voting differences (my father was a registered Republican; my mother, a registered Democrat). My father told me many times that it was an important right to exercise and not to squander it, or think it didn’t matter. Our collective voice was a powerful thing. The first election I took part in was the Clinton/Bush election in 1992, where I was a freshman in college and felt that first thrill of casting my vote and talking with others about the decision behind it. It was exciting and fun to go cast my vote, and I didn’t quite get why people thought it was such an inconvenience to spend five minutes (if that) inside a voting booth. You got a cookie and a sticker after! Who doesn’t want a free cookie?

Without a doubt, the most important election that I’ve taken part of was the Obama/McCain election in 2008. It was an historical election, no matter who you voted for. Like many people, when I saw Obama give his now famous speech in support of Kerry’s Presidency in 2004, I thought to myself, “that man is going to be the next President.” From the beginning, I did my part to help the campaign, phone banking many times to encourage others to get out and vote.

On election night, I was at a sit-down dinner in a cocktail dress, watching states to turn blue and red, getting teary-eyed when Florida and Ohio went blue and crying once he crossed that 270 line. Being in San Francisco to witness this was incredible. People were in the streets dancing around, banging on pots and pans, honking horns, screaming, crying, setting off fireworks, throwing confetti and embracing complete strangers. The only thing that dampened the evening was the passing of Prop 8, denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marriage. There was hugging going on at that party, but for completely different reasons.

This year, I will proudly cast my vote in the morning and I’m sure I’ll high five other voters on the way into work (same as I did the last Presidential election). I will watch coverage with friends, waiting with bated breath as states turning one color or another; watching the electoral numbers being divvied up; watching countless infographics and talking heads and eventually watching the acceptance speech of our (hopefully re-elected) President.

I have different political views than my parents, but they impressed upon me very early in my life the importance of making your voice heard and that it is our right as Americans to get out and seek the change we want and deserve. I thank them for that lesson. I now pass that on to you.

Get out and VOTE!

Until next week (and my next obsession)!

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