Monday, November 03, 2008

Baby's First Election

For years, I've wished my students could be excited for their first election. I've wished that they could vote for someone whose vision for this country could inspire them.

They make me remember my first election.

A group of us had restarted Young Democrats on our small Baptist campus. We generated quite a ruckus. There were shouting matches and signs defaced and all sorts of ugliness (if I were being fair, I suppose the ugliness came from both sides), but on election night, we were so excited.

I remember standing in line to vote about three people behind Brad and Kim Henry (now the Governor and First Lady of Oklahoma) and being in a huge rush to finish so I could get ready for the Young Dems election night party.

Our faculty advisor made a huge pot of spaghetti and as social chair, I planned the party activites. We had US maps to color the electoral college votes and I made party games like "Pin The Blame on The Oval Office" (Blindfold up and take a slip of paper with a Regan/Bush era failure, pin it on our picture of the White House!) or "Dan Quayle Foot In The Mouth" (rolled up sock with a Quayle-ism, aim and throw it into the cardboard box with an open mouth Dan Quayle on it!). It was quite a party, and Dr. Sanders' two preschool daughters played the games with as much vigor as we did.

When the returns came in and a winner was declared (because back then, children, we knew early in the evening), we got in our cars and hurtled toward OKC to the State Dem Party Victory shindig. We almost missed the party we were so late, but the DJ was still playing and we were giddy. When he cranked up "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)", we all took the floor like madfolk and noticed a lone, elderly gentleman, weeping, head in hands.

"Sir! Come dance with us!! Aren't you happy?!"

"I am happy. I've been waiting twelve damn years for this night."



Melissa said...

Just thought you might like to know, that I was very excited for my first Presidential election, and felt a certain sense of accomplishment when that secrecy box sucked my ballot inside after I had voted yesterday.

I really do think taking debate with you in high school helped instill a certain desire to be involved as much as I can be in the country's future. Thanks for being one of my best teachers, Ms. O. :)

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

See, I am a bit longer in the tooth than you, youngun, so after I cast MY first presidential ballot, I wore black for ONE. SOLID. WEEK.

It was 1984. It was NOT doubleplusgood.

educat said...

Melissa, you just validated a few years of my life. I'm serious, I don't say that lightly.

Yes, Ms C, the stars were aligned that I should have had such a first election.

One of my dear friends had her first in 76, and as she recalled all of its details and responded "Yeah, what I remember about that election is the Pooh for President ruler I got from Sears."

Somehow, she's still my friend.