My first presidential ballot was cast for John Kennedy in 1960. That seemed like a momentous election. But I do believe that this election is the most important one in which I have participated since I became eligible to vote in 1959. So much is at stake this year. While I have not broadcast my political preferences, I suspect that all who know me assumed, correctly, that I voted for Barack Obama. He was not my favorite at the beginning of the year. I voted for Hillary Clinton in the California Democratic Primary but once the convention came, there was no question about how The Ancient One would vote.
I must confess that I have never voted for a Republican in a general election in my lifetime. My political consciousness dates back to the 1940s when I was growing up in Michigan. When I first started teaching political science and my students would be curious about my own political biases, I would tell them that I was a G. Mennen Williams Democrat. Williams (nicknamed Soapy because he was of "that Mennen" family) was a Democratic Governor of Michigan in my youth; it was a time when my deepest political convictions were formed. During the 1950s, before I was old enough to vote, I became active in Democratic Party campaigning in my home state. As I recall, the party's electoral slogan was: "Make it emphatic, vote straight Democratic." I haven't wavered from that behavior my entire adult life and, if pushed, I can give very cogent, rational reasons for my long voting record.
But there is a lot more than the presidential race on the ballot today. There are congressional and legislative races to be decided. And here in California there are far two many referenda on the ballot. One of those has resonated more with me than the others. Proposition 8 attempts to reverse the recent California Supreme Court decision by rewording the California State Constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. I proudly cast a NO vote on Proposition 8. If it passes, I see it as clear discrimination against one group of citizens. In previous posts, I made clear my belief that majorities cannot be allowed to abrogate the rights of minorities. And I also deeply believe that we all must be respectful of the beliefs and lifestyles of others as long as they do not take away from our own right to live our own lives. To those proponents of Proposition 8 who are so sure of the "truth" of their position, I would ask you to ask yourselves, as I suggested earlier this week, "What if you are wrong?"
Okay, time to get off my soapbox. I held off writing these thoughts until today because it is not my purpose to use this space for political discourse. But I do feel good today. I just hope I feel as good when the votes are counted and the results are known.