By Carol Rood
It seems as though every time there is an election for a President I am a different person with different values. Or maybe it’s just my environment. When I was 18 the year was 1983, so the first election I was able to vote for a United States President was the election in 1984. My choices were the incumbent President Ronald Reagan or Walter Mondale. Years prior, when I was 15, my mother was a diehard Reagan fan. So much so that I went with her to the phone banks to make sure we called people and got them out to vote for Mr. Reagan. So knowing nothing beyond my parents’ expectations and my life with them, I voted for Ronald Reagan.
If I was given that same choice tomorrow, Ronald Reagan or Walter Mondale, I would again vote for Ronald Reagan. I was in the Navy at that time and I must say that President Reagan sure was good to us! We received excellent pay raises the years Reagan was President and I really liked him as my Commander in Chief!
The next Presidential election we had two new candidates who had never been President before, and featured the Republican nominee George H.W. Bush and Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis. During this election I was 22, and single. I was in the Navy, making decent money, and enjoyed living on my own. I was totally NOT paying attention to politics. I was paying more attention to the cute boys at the bar where I hung out. I voted for President Bush.
The next election was in 1992. I was still in the Navy, and totally immersed in the military life. I did not yet have children, and was still living the life of a single young lady. I think I was stationed in Fayetteville Arkansas, surrounded by Republicans and country folk. This time the men running for President were President Bush and Governor Bill Clinton.
I lived in Arkansas during this election. I knew how backwards the state was at that time. Public schools ranked very low. There was high illiteracy, the Waltons were the kings and queens and Razorback football was not doing well. I didn’t like Clinton as a Governor and I sure as heck wasn’t going to vote for him for President. President Bush got my vote, but to no avail. Bill Clinton became President.
I didn’t like President Clinton. It really didn’t have much to do with his politics. I still wasn’t paying attention to that. What I was paying attention to was what my seniors and co-workers in the Navy were saying. They didn’t like him either. He was a “draft dodger”, never served in the military. Smoked dope, etc etc etc. I was in the United States Navy. My vision was quite tunneled. I had a job that paid well, that I wasn’t going to get fired from, and that was secure. I didn’t look much beyond my little world.
Then the election that I actually started tuning in for happened. The presidential election of 1996. President Bill Clinton ran against Republican Bob Dole. I liked Dole. I really liked his wife Elizabeth Dole. I was excited about him, and liked what he had to say. I voted for him, and was disappointed when he lost. President Clinton was our President for 4 more years.
In 2000 I was married and had two small children. I was still in the Navy and therefore not really involved in what other Americans went through. I had a secure job that paid enough for my husband to stay home and go to college while raising our boys. I was quite sheltered from what the world was about, and really only paid attention to what mattered to my military lifestyle. I did NOT like Al Gore. I thought he was an idiot, and I was definitely unhappy about Clinton’s shenanigans in the white house. George Bush got my vote. He became our President.
Do you see a trend here?? I was a Republican through and through. I suppose that is because I wasn’t concerned about social issues, and honestly I wasn’t concerned about financial issues. This was the end of the 90’s. I made money from my investments in the 90’s. Housing was stable, I made money and was able to purchase homes at reasonable prices. My kids were little and not yet in school. My life then was very different from what it is now. Fast forward 4 years. My life was still the same, although it was on the cusp of change. I was about to leave my husband. About to get involved in a relationship with a woman, and about to retire. All of those changes happened in a two-year span. But I still voted like a Republican.
Then it was 2008. My life was vastly different than it had been for all of my previous elections. My kids were older. I was a retired military person living back in the “real world”. IN a relationship that was not allowed to be legalized. I was torn. I was fired up about Hilary but I adored John McCain. I had worked at the POW Center in Pensacola and I knew his story. I respected him tremendously, as did my bosses who had met him while I was in Pensacola. That stayed with me all those years later. But he made a fateful error for me. It became too much and I could no longer support Senator McCain. What was his error??? He chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. OOOOOHHHH I could not stand that woman. I can’t even put my finger on it, but I knew she could NOT be our Vice President. Then the next thing I knew some guy I had never heard of…Barock??? No it was Barack…. Barack Obama was running for President. I paid attention to the debates. Listened to the speeches, and became a Democrat. I even campaigned for him. Of course I voted for him, and was so excited when he won!!
However, this year I am a bit ambivalent. I love President Obama. But it turns out I am fiscally a Republican and socially a Democrat. Although I will say publicly I AM a supporter of Obamacare!!
I suppose the way I vote will be determined by what I value more. So am I a Demopublican or a Republicrat??
Or am I just an American who is concerned about the economy and health care, and the recession, and the national debt, and Planned Parenthood and the right for GAY PEOPLE TO MARRY????? I am AGAINST DOMA, and censure. I am AGAINST raising taxes and FOR keeping Pell Grants high and FOR keeping student loan rates low. I am FOR legalized abortion, and FOR our debt ceiling to go down. I am FOR allowing young undocumented people to have a path to citizenship but AGAINST allowing them free health care. I am confused.
I DO KNOW that I want George Allen and Randy Forbes GONE, and replaced by Tim Kaine, and ANYONE ELSE.
I do know with a 99.99999% certainty who I am voting for, but at the same time, I do understand and agree with some of what “the other guy” says too. Bottom line is I think it is okay to agree with some of what both candidates have to say, but at the end of the day you have to vote with your conscience.
May the best man win.