February 2nd is the season premiere of my favorite show on network television.
It is also Election Day – the reason why there has been so much hot air on the radio, tv spots with staged handshakes and conversations in cafes and automated “messages” from the candidates who really want to get to know my voicemail!
Unfortunately I did not become a US citizen in time to vote for the primaries so I will register to vote on Thursday and get ready for the next round. I’m excited and very new to the process as a voter. During my former life as a newspaper reporter I spent hours covering campaigns, and election day/night/early next morning was always a long, caffeinated, adrenaline-pumping or mind-numbing time. But I was definitely an observer, watching the process unfold and fascinated by the many choices people made or simply ignored.
The 15th Amendment gave African American men the right to vote. The 19th Amendment gave women of all races the right to vote.
But I know plenty of Americans out there who don’t exercise their right to vote. Are you jaded? Are you not casting a vote in defiance or protest? Are you lazy or indifferent? Why don’t you vote?
And then there are those of you who will be out there tomorrow staring at the ballot. What wins your vote or what makes you want to vote for the other candidate? What issues are closest to you? Do you vote straight party or do you go seat by seat?
And what tips would you give a newbie?
I am genuinely curious. For me, becoming an American, in part, has been an intentional decision to become more involved in the conversations and process. I may not make policy, but I want to be informed and inform policy-makers. Am I being naive and idealistic?