I have a confession to make. I have never voted and I don’t have this overwhelming desire to vote. This might be the politically incorrect sentiment to have but its how I feel. The last time I remember voting for anything was homecoming election 2006 and I can’t even tell you who I voted for then. I can assure you it was somebody black and that they didn’t win. Before you judge and tell me how people fought and died for my right to vote. Let me first explain how I have tried to vote.
Election 2004, was the first election that the majority of my friends were allowed to vote in. Unfortunately due to the fact that I was a young buck I had yet to meet the required age to vote. That didn’t stop me from participating in all the get out the vote rallies, mostly because they gave away free food and those cool “November 2” shirts in fun colors. I even volunteered to campaign for a candidate. I worked in a 4 hour shifts delivering upside down M stickers and posters to people in Tallahassee who were registered with the party that this candidate was affiliated with. I attended Black Student Union events while wearing the upside down M shirt. Whenever I was approached about why I was campaigning for this particular candidate, I assured my fellow African-Americans that I wasn’t of age to vote so it didn’t really matter who I was campaigning for. I wasn’t voting for him, or anyone else for that matter. This spared me some of the “traitor to your race” speeches. It felt good to be part of a national campaign even if I was one of 2 African-Americans I saw at the Florida campaign headquarters, and the fact that this political party paid $50 for 4 hour shifts of delivering merchandise to already hyped supporters made the feeling even better. I remember visiting one particular house and the family was so grateful that there was young people helping to get this particular candidate elected they formed a prayer circle and we prayed. Hey, I’m never going to say no to a good prayer, I need all the prayer I can get. Well, fortunately or unfortunately for some this candidate managed to win the presidential election. I went to a couple of the events for young people in this political party but didn’t really do much after.
I finally got around to registering to vote around Sept 2006. I needed a replacement license and the guy at the counter asked me was I registered. It seem as good as time as any to register, when I registered I used my permanent/ parents address. I do plan on living with them, when I finish school. They happen to be the best roommates I ever had and I don’t have to pay rent. Yes sir, I will be that 55 year old living with the folks, bringing dates into my childhood room and even vacationing with them. My dad sent me my voter registration card but I never got it. Dan US mail. I asked for an absentee ballot since I was still in Tallahassee to vote in the Governor election. Never got it. Didn’t stress it, the candidate I was going to vote for won anyway. When I finally moved back to Palm Beach (Did I mention the roommates/parents also buy grocery and cook) I never put in the effort to get a new voter registration card or pay enough attention to home town politics to be incited to vote in the city election.
Fast forward to 2008 and the primary election hype, by this time I had temporarily left my parents abode to continue my education in the city of Philadelphia. I was still registered to vote at my parent’s house in West Palm Beach (I’ll be back soon mommy and daddy). Florida never does anything the easy way and decided to move up their primary election to play a more prominent role in the nation primary season. This moved was not approved by the Republican or Democratic National parties and Florida delegates were taken away as a punishment. People half heartedly campaign in Florida. The Republicans ended up giving Fl half of their delegates, but the controversy regarding the delegates gave me an excuse why I didn’t request an absentee ballot. My vote wasn’t going to count. Plus it was just a primary.
I lived in Pennsylvania, a state that became a huge battleground state for the Democratic Party. I could have registered to vote here and switch party affiliation to be a part of “history”, but truthfully I had no interest in being consider a resident of the state of Pennsylvania and was not yet ready stop being Floridian.
I am interested in politics, yet I’m indifferent to the candidates. I watch all the news shows, read the articles and learn all I can about the election. Yet, I wasn’t and haven’t been moved to support any particular candidate. I am watching the political race like it’s a reality show, “Who want to be President of the United States of America” grand prize an all expense paid trip to the White House, your choice of sexy interns, and access to Air Force 1. I think my friends are annoyed about how entertained I am yet, emotionally unattached to this race. My friend who lives in Atlanta, pledge Delta and major in business who shall remain unnamed refuses to engage in any political conversation with me that don’t involve which candidate we want to have sex with. My lack of enthusiasm for the election is in direct contrast to this fashionable support of Obama, The shirts, pins and music videos. I think I am going to start a line of Obama condoms “I HOPE this chick don’t get pregnant” or “Before you CHANGE the way that chick walks strap one of these on” or “Don’t use this and your life will be CHANGED in 9 months” as slogans. I am glad Hillary is out of the election, she is the only one I vehemently opposed. So I can just chill and watch the show. I mean how much difference is an Obama presidency versus a McCain Presidency. Don’t answer. I know that’s horrible, this position is the leader of the free World. It’s very important task with a lot of power. The person elected is the face of our country for four years. How dare I claim to be a student of history and a graduate student in African-American studies and not particular care who wins and actually say that they are both equal? Come on, Tab have some racial pride and support the first Black President. The economy is in the tank and all the Bush administration fault, right? It’s horrible that I know in years to come I’m going to have to lie about my support of Obama so I can seem down with the cause.
Indifference is a horrible thing, when you just don’t care it’s a lot harder for someone to convince you to support a candidate then when you have one you are passionate about. Honestly, I feel kind of jealous that I don’t have this urge to cry when Obama speaks or feel this pride that all my friends feel. Palin being a woman, who manages her family and still lives out her own ambitions doesn’t inspire me as a woman to believe I can do it all. McCain being old does make me excited about being young and wasting away my life, because if he can run for president at 72 I can wait until I am 35ish to actually start with my life plan. People are living crazy long! I am grateful to the many people who fought and sacrificed to give me the choice on whether or not I can exercise my right to vote. Being both black and a woman, voting is a right many people didn’t believe I deserved.
But don’t rule me out just yet. There is seven weeks left until the Presidential Election plenty enough time for me to gain passion. To get behind a candidate and truly feel a part of the democratic process, to feel a part of history. To not have to lie to my children about my role in this historic election. At the end of the day this is the ultimate reality show, this person will be a part of our nation’s story forever. At the end of the day there is no funny reunion show, no sequel or a spin off show. This is real life and it’s time for me to stop being entertained and become engaged in the political process.
What better election then this to cast my first vote?