I am sitting in my parents' den watching the returns coming in live...of course, it's the middle of the night and my son will still be up at 7. I am not writing this post to wax eloquent about my chosen candidate or about the importance of voting, etc., but instead to think about how far we've all come since we were kids.
The first election I really remember was in 1984, when I felt sad that Mondale only won one little state and Reagan won the rest. I remember the redness of the map a bit like the online game of Risk, when one side gobbles up the other to win for world domination.
The next one, for some reason, that I remember was in 1992. I voted for Paul Tsongas (z''l) in the primaries. It was my first presidential election and I felt super proud to have a chance to vote. Then the actual election: I may out myself here, but I was in Israel enjoying my junior year abroad, hunkered down watching CNN in a room at the Hyatt on French Hill. No one had TVs, of course, and I think I knew 3 people with this thing called email that they used to write to people at home. No computers either, we wrote our papers by hand. Anyway, the guy I was madly in love with wanted to come and watch the returns, but he wasn't in love with me at all, just wanted to be my friend....and my friends tried to keep him out of the room out of spite. He made it in, and 16 years later, he's my husband and is sitting next to me on the couch.
In 2000, we had an election party. Invited all of our friends. Got snacks. Put up a big chart to keep track of everything, with red and blue markers and everything. But I went to sleep around 2 and hell if my livingroom wasn't still filled with friends. Oh well. Gore would have made an excellent president.
And I keep being more interested in this. Now I'm keeping track of the delegates and getting excited and invested in the returns, and feeling passionate about change and being involved in the process. I feel like I want to have my voice heard, so that things will be a bit different for my son, a bit better.
I was BORED with politics as a kid. I hated lectures--why would adults go sit in a room to hear others just talk and talk? I hated NPR--my dorky parents listened to public radio. I would never have read the New Yorker--too much text in spite of the cartoons. No PBS, either. And here I am, all grown up, with my kid asleep in the room next to us and I'm fascinated. I guess you could say I am--we all--are all grown up.
I vividly remember voting with my parents, going into the booth and helping to push the lever. I'm doing it with my son now, and I hope that he'll feel that same excitement someday. Perhaps when he's my age (likely not before).