Monday, October 20, 2008

You can teach an old dog new tricks!

Here in Oregon, we vote by mail. (It's not my preferred method, but that's fodder for another post!) So my ballot for the election has been sitting on the breakfast table since Saturday, and some time within the next two weeks I will mark my choices for President, US Senator, and a number of other candidates and issues and send in my ballot.

This will be my 11th Presidential election. I'm a bit nonplussed by that number since I certainly don't think of myself as being *that* old! But I can remember every election and tell you who I voted for in each one. (I've never been a "party line" voter, and I did spend a portion of my life registered as a Republican.) This year, this election, is different for me in a number of ways, however. For the first time, ever, I have:
  • put a campaign sign in my yard
  • put a political bumper sticker on my car
  • donated money to a political campaign
  • watched the debates
  • closely followed the polls and reports
  • canvassed my neighborhood in support of a candidate
  • made phone calls in support of a candidate

I frankly think Barack Obama is the brightest hope this country has seen in 48 years, and he has inspired me to become involved in a way that I never thought I would. Indeed, in a way I never wanted to. (That, too, is another post!)

Today at the volunteer phone bank at the Obama campaign office, I spoke on the phone with an 84-year-old woman. She was quite pleased to get my call, and said, "Oh, yes, honey, I have already filled out my ballot and I just put it in the mailbox!"

"You know," she continued, dropping her voice to a whisper, "I just changed to the Democratic party this year. If my father wasn't already dead, this would have killed him. He was a staunch Republican all his life, but it was not the party that exists today. He would have been disgusted with those people bringing all this religion into politics. That's just not the way it's supposed to be."

I agreed, and thanked her for her support. She closed by thanking *ME* for calling her and others to help get out the vote.

We should never be so set in our ways that we're completely closed to the idea of change. Really, what difference would it have made if this woman had not changed her party affiliation? None. She still could have voted for Obama in the election next month. She wanted - needed, perhaps - to make a statement. And even if she and I - and those who read this post - are the only ones who know, it doesn't matter. She made her voice heard - and I'm sure her father would understand!


  1. How delightful that you had the conversation with the 84 yr. old voter! I, too, am more involved and excited about Obama and this election than any election prior. My parents are independents and my 74 yr. old father is watching SNL and reading Rolling Stone magazine. He believes Obama is our last great hope. I believe Obama has revitalized the voting public.

  2. I do agree that Obama has revitalized the voting process, and I think it is wonderful that he can inspire hope in such large numbers. I only wish I agreed with his choice of methods for helping this country become better.