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That's it for today!
MY CIVIC DUTY
8 November 2001
I have another guilty secret to share. (You guys won't tell anybody, will you?)
I didn't vote yesterday.
In truth, I can't remember the last time I didn't vote. I've voted in elections where I made up my mind in the booth. This time around, I've been so involved in the new job that I didn't even know what we were voting for, much less how I felt about it, so in this year when we are all having heightened patriotism, and love of country, and feeling responsible for decisions made in this country, I just stayed home from the polls.
I wasn't alone in my apathy. The newspaper reports that only 19% of the voters in the county turned out to vote. It's not that we had anything controversial to vote on. We were only voting for school board members and two of the three who ran, were running for re–election and essentially unopposed.
The only controversy at all centered on the re–election of the president of the school board, who had some difficulties with the gay community, which was unhappy that she refused to take a stand when the state was voting on legalizing same gender partnership, and that though she favors offering domestic partner benefits to school district employees, she prefers to wait until the budget comes up for study in 2 years, rather than right now.
Maybe that's why I stayed away from the polls. The president of the school board is a friend of mine--and the people she went head to head with over domestic partnership benefits are also good friends. Even though my vote would have been private, this was one of those times when I really didn't know how I felt about it.
As it turned out she won handily, so she didn't need my vote after all.
When I look back over my life, I realize that I've been involved in making a difference politically since grammar school (an odd thing to say for someone who doesn't consider herself particularly politically active). My very first job was when I was in 4th or 5th grade and was hired by some guy who was running for office--perhaps city council?--and hired a couple of kids to pass out campaign literature for him. (If I remember correctly, he lost the election.) My mother went with us so we weren't knocking on strange doors without a responsible adult to supervise, but we made a couple of dollars and it gave me a little interest in the outcome of the election that year.
When Stevenson ran against Eisenhower, I was in about the 8th grade, I think, and one of the few kids in my class who was not sporting an "I like Ike" button. I felt so disappointed when Stevenson didn't win.
I remember a few years later, babysitting for a couple of kids and glued to the television hoping that the handsome John Kennedy would win the nomination for vice president, but alas it was not his year to step into the political spotlight.
I was too young to vote for Kennedy for president, so my first ever election was when Johnson beat Goldwater. I was working at the time for the physics department at the University of California, Davis. The anti-Goldwater sentiment was very high and I ended up working very hard helping out "Scientists and Engineers for Johnson." We were triumphant when Johnson won, and then some of the same folks who worked on that campaign would soon be marching in peace marches protesting the war in Vietnam and wondering if we'd done the right thing voting Johnson into office.
Politics in Davis gets very personal, since it's basically a small town and all your friends are running for office, and everybody passes everybody else at the Farmers Market while we're all passing out literature for our own pet causes.
My first political campaign was for a friend (the wife of the psychiatrist I work for, actually) who was running for school board. It was her first public campaign and she learned a lot about the rigors of campaigning. At the end of her successful bid for office, she said "Don't EVER let me do that again," a promise I have reminded her of every time she has sought a new office. She presently sits in the California Assembly as an assemblywoman from our district, and since she will be termed out this year, she is going to run again for her old seat on the county Board of Supervisors.
I also helped on the campaign for the woman who won re–election yesterday. This year not only did she not ask me to be on her team, but when she put up her list of supporters, Walt was on the list and I was not. I was kind of surprised at that, but perhaps given that we have locked horns over issues of gay equality, she felt it was better not to have me involved--or listed as a supporter.
The only time I actively got involved with campaigning was a couple of years ago when we were working for a bill which would legalize same gender partnerships. I was one of those people you hate, standing outside supermarkets trying to get you to read my material. It was an extremely uncomfortable thing for me to do because I'm not, by nature, someone who enjoys talking to strangers, or trying to convince strangers to vote a certain way. But I felt strongly enough about the bill that I did it. Of course the bill didn't pass. But I felt good about my involvement.
I didn't vote yesterday. I didn't have an "I voted, have you?" button to wear. But the people whose signs are on our lawn won anyway. Ironically, just about a year ago (I read in my "one year ago" entry ), I was racing home from Los Angeles so I could cast my vote for Gore. I guess I just didn't care enough this time.
(Club Photo has started
Created 11/8/01 by Bev Sykes