Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Childhood Voting Woes

When I was seven years old, my class at school had a mock election. This was in 1976, and the candidates were Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Before we actually filled out our ballots we milled around talking about who we were going to vote for. I remember that most of my friends, most of the boys, period, were vocal supporters of Ford. I pretty much ran with the current, proclaiming my decision to vote Ford to anybody who asked.

When the time came to make our final decision, I checked the box for Jimmy Carter. I remember nothing of my reasoning, why I needed to vote contrary to prevailing opinion when I knew absolutely nothing of substance on the candidates or issues. But I checked Carter and slyly, I thought, folded over the piece of paper and waited to drop it into the basket that the teacher was passing around.

A girl who sat behind me, and I don't remember her name but she was big and had tightly-wound pigtails with brightly-colored berets, leaned forward and said "I saw you, you voted for Carter."

I turned and looked at her. "I did not," I said.

She looked around and said, louder, so others could hear, "He voted for Carter!" I just shut up then and turned back to the front and didn't say anything else, hoping that she wouldn't bring any more attention to my political sympathies, my deceit, or my cowardice.

And what is the moral of this story? Well, in the immortal words of Homer Simpson: "There's no moral to the story. It's just some stuff that happened."

No comments: