My Right, My Duty

They lowered the voting age to 18 the same year I turned 18.  It was also a Presidential election year.  I was thrilled.  I would get to vote for the first time and cast my vote for President.  The fact that I did not like the current Presdient made it even sweeter.  Even my primitive attempts at art reflected my dislike for Tricky Dick.

To put it perspective, the year was 1972.  The Viet Nam War was still dragging on, The Godfather premiered and bell bottoms and Afros were big.   Peace man.  Before I left for college, I went to our local county office of elections and registered to vote.  It was a warm summer day and business was slow.  The clerk had fallen asleep resting her head on the sleeve of her cable knit sweater.  The pattern of the cuff of the letterman sweater was etched into her forehead.  I was so mesmerized by this marking that I wasn’t certain which party I had registered with.  My card indicated Democrat. That was a relief! I was now a Registered Voter.

Soon I was off to college and on my path to change the world.

There was always some kind of event being promoted at the campus dining hall.  Tables were set up to sign up for this or that.  Many evenings, a good looking long haired hippie from one of my classes would man the Young Democrat table.  I stopped and chatted with him  and he asked if I would help with George McGovern’s campaign and join the Young Democrat club.  Oh yes, I was so excited. I was participating.  I got a poster for my dorm wall and some buttons to distribute.

When I went to the first meeting there were maybe 6 of us there.  I was elected Treasurer.  I think we were all officers of some kind.  I must have looked like I could add so they gave me the checkbook.  Glasses make you look smart sometimes.

Such hope we had for George but he was a big loser.  I think he won one state. I realized then that it wasn’t going to be easy creating change.  I din’t give up though.

But the moral is that I registed and voted.  It was my right and civic duty.  I have voted in all but one election since.  I have worked for candidates and shared the joy of victory and the sadness of defeat.  Most importantly, I have participated.

I hope you are registered to vote.  If not, please do.  Exercise your right and duty.  It can make a difference.  If you don’t get the change you want, keep trying, go to council meetings, speak your mind, and by all means don’t be afraid.


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