Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Voted.

I've long been obsessed with my right to vote.  For this I blame Mary Poppins.  The song, Sister Suffragette, stayed with me years after I'd lost my Mary Poppins picture record and taped over the VHS video with MTV's 120 Minutes.  "Our daughters' daughters will adore us/ And they'll sing in grateful chorus/ "Well done, Sister Suffragette!" One day I looked up "suffragette" in the huge encyclopedia collecting dust in our living room and discovered that these long dead British chicks were badasses, chaining themselves to fences and organizing marches in complete defiance of the laws of the day.  They were rebels.  Not rebels like the football team my town was obsessed with but real life rebels in petticoats.

Later, in history class, I learned about the Women's Rights movement here in the United States.  History was a subject I usually snoozed my way through but the discussion stirred something in me.  I vowed to vote as soon as I turned eighteen.  In high school, I joined the Young Democrats.  This was ultra-conservative Midland, Texas in the early 90's so I'm pretty sure our entire roster consisted of three people:  myself, my pal Matt and perhaps one other person I've since forgotten.  Because we felt helpless,  a couple of blue dots in an ocean of red, we decided to take matters in our own grimy little hands.  One night we drove around town throwing "Clayton Williams for Governor" signs into the trunk of my friend's little green car.  We left the five or six Ann Richards signs alone.   We felt powerful and guilty.  Baby lawbreakers struggling to make our liberal voices heard in a town that despised everything we believed in.

I awaited my chance to vote with great anticipation.  Voting is the only right of passage I actually had to wait for.  After all, there were fake IDs and keggers to get around the legal drinking limit.  You could walk into any convenience store in West Texas and purchase a carton of cigarettes even if you couldn't reach the counter.  (I remember buying Virginia Slims for the costume designer at the local theatre when I was twelve.)  But voting was something you couldn't cheat on.  You had to be eighteen.

I've voted in every major election since then and while things don't always go the way I want them to, I still feel powerful.  I believe it's a right I'm making good use of.  I'm not disappointing any dead British ladies or the ghost of my juvenile delinquent self.  I voted.  I rock.