Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Change is Gonna Come

Almost didn't exercise democracy today! My plan was to vote in the evening, once I got home from school. Jewel Dakini and I left at 6:30 pm, which should have been plenty of time to be home before the polls closed at 8, but there was staggeringly unpleasant traffic, and it took us over an hour to get to WeHo. By the time I dropped her off and found parking, I had five minutes left to vote, and also to deliver Violet Vixen's absentee ballot. (I'm hoping that in the future, every single person I know will have a blog so that anytime I recount a story I can link to every single person.) But I made it, and there were no lines, thank goodness.

My voting was along the expected lines. No on the annoying Props. 83 and 85, yes on the bond measures, the cigarette tax, and the alternative fuel thingy. Also, no on that measure that would have forced the legislature to put transportation taxes towards repairing roads--if there is anything I learned from my mother's career as a school board member, it's that state propositions are a bad way to allocate funds. I skipped the judges since, really, who has any idea, and voted a straight Democratic ticket everything else.

When it came to governor, however, I took the opportunity to indulge in a bit of caprice: I didn't vote for Democratic candidate Phil Angelides. Which is not to say that I voted for Herr Schwarzenegger, because believe you me, I am not looking forward to a lifetime of having students looking at the diploma on my office wall and seeing Arnold's signature. No, I voted for Peter Camejo, the Green candidate.

Now, I don't know a ton about Mr. Camejo. I feel like I have heard a few inklings of negative stuff about him, and at any rate, i definitely don't support the Green platform all the way. But voting Green was a wonderful feeling. When I first registered to vote, days after turning eighteen in 1998, I was a committed supporter of third parties, and gleefully registered as a Green Party member for my maiden election. Remember 1998? Things were so hopeful. Yes, the Republicans controlled the House, and yes, the Monica Lewinsky scandal had broken a few months earlier. But still, having lived under a Democratic administration ever since I was twelve years old, it was hard to imagine the evil that lay ahead. One could imagine that greater change was possible, and that one's convictions, rather than fears, could be the source of my vote. Don't worry, by 2000 I knew the jig was up, and voted for Gore.

But I still remember that feeling of optimism when I first registered to vote, and could actually vote for someone whose politics I agreed with. That really hasn't been possible since then. Like every other leftist, I've compromised, and compromised. And I don't regret it at all, because these political times have required it. But in this election, where Governor Arnold was headed towards a landslide, and the Democratic candidate had run a sniveling, unpleasant campaign, it felt great to be able to vote Green. And I could do so not just because my vote was a throwaway, but because once again, I'm feeling optimistic.


Kelsey said...

Oh man, I almost almost almost voted for Camejo, but at the last minute I switched and voted for Angelides, because I kind of thought he might pull off a Hail Mary. It was unhappy--I was feeling the pull of 1998 too.

I voted for Nader in 2000, because I wanted to get the Greens federal funding and I hated Al Gore with the flaming passion of a thousand burning suns. Man, that felt good at the time, even though it was a terrible idea.

bbound said...

Boy, a hail mary sure would have made me feel bad.

I should also add that I didn't vote for Dianne Feinstein either. That's not recent though--I don't think I've ever voted for her. A boy's got to have some principles.

sushipjs said...

I wanted Camejo, but the HBG threatened our domestic sanity if I didn't vote for Angelides. But god... have the dems ever had such a lame candidate?

Dudes, I actually think we took the senate, too. Hee!