January 03, 2008

I have not voted in 27 years

It doesn't seem like that's possible: the last time I voted was in 1980, when I worked on John Anderson's campaign as an undergrad and Independent at the University of Buffalo.

Turn around and 27 years have gone by. How do you lose a couple-three decades? In politics, you basically give up, stop believing. As the years go by, you lose hope, see that the country your child stands to inherit has turned into a place you are very close to running away from. Because it is ugly and doesn't resemble you or your family or anything you even remotely believe in. Because it doesn't feel like home.

Two weeks ago I made a decision to try again. At the public library, I registered to vote.

This will be my first election in nearly 30 years. I will vote for Barack Obama, the one candidate who I believe can help heal a couple of hundred years of trauma that America can't seem to get past.

I would like to be able to say to Jenna, "Yes, that is President Obama." I will not vote Republican, even if that means I have to vote for Hillary.

Lots of things have kept me from registering to vote over the past couple of decades -- from complete lack of faith in the process to moral resistance to the endemic immorality of politics. And lots of other reasons too.

But before I give up on America and the democratic process for the next 27 years, I will try to stand up for change again. I will volunteer. I will donate. And I will vote.

If you haven't voted in a few elections, come along with me. Let's look ahead and suspend our disbelief, even if just for this next year, to see if we can make a difference. To see if it is possible to change course.

I don't think it has ever mattered as much as it does now.