Hip Hip Hooray! It’s Voting Day!

Today is VOTING DAY!  Isn’t that exciting!?  There’s always a certain electricity in the air on the day we choose our next leaders – Yay for SUPAH TUESDAY!

The first time I participated in a Presidential election was in 5th grade.  We took it very seriously.  We made campaign signs and everything.  This was the year that Clinton was running against Bush the first and none other than Ross Perot.  I recall Perot giving Clinton a run for his money, but Clinton pulled out the W in our class; and you know what they say, “as goes Mr. Lersch’s 5th grade class, so goes the Nation.”

The legitimate first time I voted was in the controversial 2000 Bush vs. Gore election.  I was so excited to vote, and I almost missed it because I went to the wrong polling place, missed the bus, and had to walk down a dark scary street in Amherst, Massachusetts (the week after Halloween) only to see my polling place was at the church down the hill from my dorm.  I arrived at like 6:59:47 pm, and they closed the doors behind me, but at least I got in!  It was great!  I finally voted for real, and before I went to sleep, the candidate I chose was the winner!  YES!  But then when I woke up the next morning, we had a different President.  Interesting.

Of course, the most memorable election day of my lifetime was Super Tuesday 2008!  I was a Polling Place Administrator (PPA) so I voted early since I would be working at the polls all day.  (Basically I read and did my homework all day waiting for one of the voting machines to malfunction or run out of paper.)  Casting my early ballot was fun though.  I went with my fiancé (now husband) and former roommate; we took pics and the whole nine yards.  The true excitement did not really start until I went to the election watch party that said former roommate was hosting at her apartment.  We watched the victories from each state roll in and it was so nerve-wracking but so exciting.  I had the privilege of living in Chicago at this time in my life, so when we got that confirmation we all jumped in cars and headed to the Blue line to go down town to Grant Park for Obama’s Election Night Rally!  It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.  The atmosphere downtown was like nothing I have ever experienced.  Complete strangers were hi-fiving, hugging, cheering and jumping up and down together.  There was no violence, no purse clutching, and no fear.  It felt like we were at a huge family gathering – family that you like.  The atmosphere was so peaceful, and if you’ve ever spent time in Chicago (a beautiful city that I miss often), you know that you don’t always feel that way even during the many community festivals and visits to popular tourist attractions.  To top it all off, it was an unseasonably warm night in Chicago.  We were wearing hoodies and light jackets at night in November!  On this night, more than ever, I felt like I was really a part of something.  I was witnessing history being made, and I had a hand in it.  It was truly awesome and unforgettable.  Perhaps my most shallow excitement of the night was that the First Lady living in the White House would know the ins and outs of hair like mine!  This continues to give me a kick!  When I went home that night, I drove my roommate crazy playing another track from my beloved Nas’ “Untitled” album – “Yes We Caaaaaaaaan change the Woooooorld!”

Election Day 2008 is definitely going to be one of those that history highlights for as long as this world keeps spinning, and I was a part of it!  I share these memories with you to encourage you to make your own Election Day memories that you can talk to your kids about someday, especially if 2012 is your first time.  I know we at Dynamo have clearly established why you should vote, and dropped a few hints on who you should vote for ;) , but it’s not only about being a participant in this civic process, it’s also about your own personal growth and development.  Although the votes you cast are private, as they should be, participating in this process challenges you to think about what you believe in for society as a whole and what you think the law of the land should be on the National and local level.  For example, your vote on the referendum questions could determine if the public schools in your area will be invested in with new technology and better ventilation, or maybe whether or not medical marijuana will be legalized in your state, or maybe you will determine whether or not term limits will be put into place for your city officials, the list goes on depending on your state, city, and county.   You, and what you think matters even more than usual on this day, so make it count!

Feel free to share your Voting Day Memories in the comments!

“Yes We Can”

“Obama’s 2008 Victory Speech”

 

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