My first election was in 1988: George H.W. Bush versus Michael Dukakis. I voted, happily at the time, for George Bush. I loved Ronald Reagan, and Bush, while no dynamo, was the next best thing. My father had lived in New England for much of my life, so terms like “Taxachusetts” were part of my vocabulary from a young age. Plus, Kitty Dukakis was a bit fragile. She always looked minutes away from a complete mental breakdown. Definitely not first lady material, not in my book. Poor Kitty.
While my political opinions and party affiliation have evolved through the decades (and will continue to evolve), one thing has remained constant: the feeling of pride and patriotism which overcomes me every time I step into a voting booth.
After college, I lived with my mother in Philadelphia, and we had a tradition called “Vote and Eat.” You can probably guess what it involved. After we voted, we went to Nick’s Roast Beef on Cottman Avenue and ate. It was a fun tradition, and I can’t wait until my mom moves closer so our Vote and Eat can rise again.
In the meantime, I’ve been trying to come up with some inspiration to cook something worthwhile for election night, and I’ve got nothing. To be honest, this election has exhausted me. I have seen ugly, hateful things coming from people I otherwise like and respect, and it’s hard to not be changed by that. Even some people I agree with politically have spread panic and paranoia to a degree I consider really unhealthy. I will be so happy when this is behind us.
This morning, I set off to my little country polling place to vote (we still use ink pens around here) and was greeted happily by both the Romney camp and the Obama camp. They were chit chatting with each other before I walked up to them and continued to do so after I left. While I did not know them, these are my neighbors, members of my community. I was happy to see citizens with opposing political opinions treating each other respectfully, as friends, despite all I’ve heard heard in the media. If and when things get ugly, I will hold on to that. And I think I will exercise my constitutional right to order pizza and wings tonight.