I take the privilege of voting very seriously. Perhaps that is because my grandmother drummed the importance of voting into my head. My grandmother volunteered for the League of Women Voters for as long as I can remember. She would lecture me on the importance of not splitting your ticket. You were to vote all Democrat or all Republican.
I came across, Suffragettes Forever! The Story of Women and Power while clicking through channels on the TV a few weeks ago. The 3-part series portrayed a 300 year-long campaign by women for political and sex equality in Britain. Some of the historical details were unimaginable. Historian, Amanda Vickery, takes the viewer on a tour that reveals revolting facts about this period of history. The extremely brave women who sacrificed so much to bring about change, did so by resorting to violent acts. I was shocked by the length of time these women persevered in their pursuit of change, justice and the right to vote.
This suffragette series helped me to better understand why my grandmother, Clara, was so involved in the voting process. Clara was born in 1896. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution wasn’t ratified until August 18, 1920; granting American women the right to vote. Clara would have been in that group of women who were breaking away from the traditions of that period, where women were to simply follow their husband’s guidance in all matters. No wonder she was a zealot about the right to vote. When I turned eighteen I couldn’t wait to register to vote. Unfortunately, I was always on the opposite of side of how my parents and grandparents were voting. With that, came a host of heated arguments. Very similar to what I see on Facebook feeds now.
For my first presidential election, Richard M. Nixon and George McGovern were running. Our country was devided, as it is now, and it was a very sad time for the U.S. We had been watching our American troops, live on TV, as they were engaged in a military action in Vietnam. One almost became numb to the enormous numbers of dead American boys that the press reported on. Our current period in time has similar scenarios. Terrorists routinely blow up buildings and planes. The losses during the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001 are so hard to comprehend. And, it is difficult to keep track of the number of shooters who have entered schools and killed innocent children. We see these horrifying acts on TV so frequently that they are becoming commonplace.
I have no wisdom for voting in the 2016 election. It feels like a bad dream and I am looking for a miracle. I keep hoping I will wake up and there will be two different candidates on the ballot. Some of my friends and family are for the Democrats, some are for the Republicans and some were for Bernie Sanders. There are Republican politicians who have decided to not endorse their presidential candidate, Donald Trump. I heard a few folks going in the direction of Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party). That is until Gary was unable to name a world leader he admired and was unable to answer a question about the crisis in Aleppo, Syria.
We appear to be split down the middle of our nation, once again. And now the Russians appear to have hacked the Democratic National Committee’s computer network to influence the outcome of the election. Is this the new reality of what we can expect for all future elections? I can’t help but wonder if my grandmother is turning over in her grave, especially with the televised debates for this year’s presidential election. Don’t worry grandma, I will be voting. But I can’t promise that I won’t split my ticket.