Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The making of a political junkie

As my mom tells it, I've been weirdly political since I was about three. I cried in 1988 when Ronald Reagan left office. I was strangely obsessed with the man, told my mom he was my grandpa, and asked where he was going. She told me that he was going to retire and move to his ranch in California.

"Can we go visit him?" she tells me I asked her through my tears and sniffles.

I rebounded quickly, changed parties, and would cheer "Mikey Dukakis!" when commercials played on tv for the election that would give us Reagan's replacement. A small piece of me is proud that I rejected the original Bush White House at about the same time I was being potty trained.

Cut to 1996, when Clinton was the incumbent running against Dole. I was in fifth grade and we had just finished a math unit on percentages. In the front page of the chapter, I read that a small, representative sample of the population can offer a relatively accurate portrayal of how the actual population will vote on an issue. I decided to hold an anonymous class-wide vote to see if we could predict the winner. Everyone voted anonymously, placing their votes into a basket we passed around.

Oh, everybody except my boyfriend of one week, Dan. I picked his paper up and folded the corner of it, then went to go count the votes in private. I came to the folded corner paper and saw that Dan had written "Clinton" on his. Two points, Mr. Nemcek. I remember not feeling guilty for participating in this small act of voter fraud, much like I'm sure Jeb Bush felt in 2000. I simply wanted to know if my boyfriend was aligned with my views, which at the time were "I don't want that old guy to win."

I like the candidate with a funny name this time around, too. I don't like the one who resembles my grandpa. I still like dating guys who are on my side, although I am bold enough to just ask them these days. Election seasons still make me emotionally unstable. Here's to another twenty years of political memories. May all of them be with filled with the childlike excitement of loving a candidate, albeit with a little education on the issues this time around.


Teresa said...

I am having silent fits of giggles in Journalism Lab right now thinking of you at age 3 crying over Ronald Reagan.