The following essay is written by
Member and Vice-Chair of the Green County Democrats
I grew up, like many, in a middle class family. My dad was a railroad engineer and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Union, and my mom ran our family-owned country store along with being very active in our small community. Both of my grandfathers were politically active in their own way and my grandmother was a member of the WRC (Womens Relief Corp).
Civic duty was very important to my family. At a very young age I remember going into the voting booth with my mom. Granted, I was at an age where the most fascinating part of the election was mom letting me pull the lever to make the curtain close . . . yes I'm that old and yes you went into a closed booth.
I was then fortunate enough to grow up in a time that our public school system still taught civics. Not just a week or semester of it, but an entire year (I believe it was in eighth grade). It was in the summer of 1971 that 18 year olds were given the right to vote and I couldn't wait for my very first election in 1976 when I proudly cast my vote for President Jimmy Carter! I will humbly admit to a “hiccup” in my belief system and learned my lesson in ideology in 1980 . . . I voted for John Anderson and well we know how that election ended up. I kick myself to this day when I think of how much better off we would have been as a country with President Carter for a second term, rather than the beginnings of eight years of “Reaganomics”!!
Independent thinking is very important, but voting for an independent can be dangerous to our democracy. Admittedly there were other factors at work against President Carter in 1980, but looking back in recent history, the third party vote during a presidential election works as a spoiler. In 1992 Ross Perot ran on the Reform Party ticket which worked as a spoiler for then Republican President George H W Bush. In 2000 Ralph Nader ran on the Green Party ticket, a spoiler for Democratic Vice President Al Gore.
Like it or not, our county is a two party system. The third party may work for State level races, but when it comes to electing a president, I feel we must come together under a unified tent. Granted, the tent gets battered from time to time and needs repairs. I think we are experiencing one of those times now. Therefore, regardless of who wins the Democratic primary, I will proudly vote Democratic in the general election and do my part to help put this party tent back on a Progressive track. A Progressive movement . . . now that's another interesting topic to ponder, but for another day.
I hope you'll join me in educating and revitalizing our middle class and young electorate. But most importantly . . . VOTE IN EVERY ELECTION!! There is never a good reason to miss exercising your right to vote. If you can't make it to the polls, vote on an absentee ballot.