Friday, November 5, 2010

Flashback Friday - Get Out The Vote!

What are your memories of politics and the voting process when you were growing up? Did you parents vote regularly? What, if anything, did they teach you about voting? Did you ever go with your parent(s) when they voted? What type of voting system did your town use? What was the first election you remember voting in? Did you or your parents ever campaign for anyone? How does your parents' example/teaching influence your voting today?

My parents didn't speak often of their political beliefs, although I know they were staunch conservatives. I do remember my mom frequently saying that she wasn't really voting for someone but voting against his opponent. As a child, I totally didn't get that; of course, with age (hopefully!) comes wisdom, and I understand it now!

I do remember going with my mom to vote and being fascinated by the machines. They were the big walk-in machines similar to this picture, complete with the privacy curtain and the levers by which you cast your vote. When I was in younger elementary school, I loved going into the booth at the "polling place" with my mom and she would often let me flip the levers. By the time I was about ten, though, they wouldn't allow me to go in with her because I was old enough that they thought I might influence her vote!

The first election I actually voted in would have been the 1980 Reagan/Carter presidential election. I remember thinking it was neat that I could now vote, but I have no recollection of the actual experience. I do vividly remember learning a big lesson about politics and religion. I had a very good friend who supported one of the candidates, and one of my sisters was an avid supporter of the opposing candidate. In independent, totally separate, conversations, one of them said "I don't see how anyone can be a Christian and vote for Reagan" while the other one said, "I don't know how someone can be a Christian and support Carter." That was an eye-opener for me! I knew both my sister and my friend well, and I had no doubt that they were both committed Christians, neither of whose theology was vastly different from mine--or even each other's! It convinced me that you can't always predict someone's political views by looking at their spiritual beliefs, nor can you judge someone's Christianity by their politics!

I'm not particularly political and I don't vote in every single election, especially small local elections or ones with lots of bonds. (Half the time, the bond elections have so much legalese, I'm not sure what the "yes" or "no" vote might actually mean!) I do always vote in the presidential elections, as well as the election for state governor. As imperfect as our country and its politics is, I am so grateful for the system established by our founding fathers, especially when I see news of other countries and their coups and uprisings!

What are your political memories growing up? Post them on your blog and link up here!


View blog reactions


Jim said...

Sounds good, Linda. I liked reading about your sister and friend, each of whom thought the other's choice might be against Christian values. I would not have been qualified to enter into that one as back then I didn't know these candidates' religious backgrounds.

Would you help your mom decide who to vote for? Ten year olds can have favorites.

I hope you will forgive me for going back to an older one, 'senior in high school.'
I did tell what little I knew of my early days first. You guys had already done the senior thing so I played a little catch up.

Cindy said...

I really don't remember much about politics growing up which surprises me given how political I am now. I think that happened when the issues became more important to me as an adult.

If you're interested, I'm doing a cookbook giveaway at my blog.

Kim said...

You know, for the life of me, I could not recollect any memories of my parents' voting habits. I do remember them talking about how flabbergasted they were about the way some of their siblings voted...but that's about it.

When I turned 18 it was 1985, so not a presidential election year. Thus, the first time I cast my vote for president it was for Bush, Sr. in 1988 and I was a junior in college.

All I know for sure is that I have voted every time it was time to vote since I turned 18. It's not a privilege I take lightly!

Oh, and I actually got to shake hands with Bush, Jr. when he came to Alabama campaigning for our Republican candidates that year! Now THAT I will never forget!!!

Kathy said...

I laughed when I saw this week's subject. After you read my post you'll understand why.

After all of these years of being silent, I was glad to finally use my voting priviledge.

Thanks for hosting these flashbacks. They always cause me to pause and reflect--and that's what my blog is all about!
Have a great weekend...Kathy

bp said...

I get so confused on am I supposed to vote yes or no on those bond issues.

Enjoyed your memories and the story about your sister and friend.

Cathy said...

I really can't remember much about this when I was younger. However, I am so glad I have the privilege to get to vote now! I miss very few opportunities to vote now.

quilly said...

I couldn't have written to this topic even if I'd been well enough. I know that Gram always voted, but she never talked to me about politics. Even the year I did all of my research on Nixon I don't remember her ever expressing a political opinion.