Tuesday, November 04, 2008

" Where were you when...?"

It's 11 pm and the major news networks have just called the election in Obama's favor. It looks as though it is somewhat of a landslide, which I predicted.
I'm happy with the results.
I voted for McCain.
Hmm.
I'm conflicted, and a little disappointed in myself. Like many others, from the beginning Obama intrigued me. Regardless of whether I agreed with him, he was undeniably different and incited a fervor in the American people that hasn't existed in my lifetime. I was always impressed with his polish and his speaking. I just assumed I didn't agree with him on most issues since he is a Democrat. Admittedly ignorant about politics, I have taken the majority of my information and opinions from my dad. I feel like it's a pretty safe bet. He's intelligent, conservative, and we share the same basic values. I trust his information and advice. Still, I kept wondering about Obama. I asked my dad, Timm, even Hannah and Michelle various questions about the candidates to feel better informed, or at least to see both sides of the coin. I never disliked him. I never distrusted him.
Then the last presidential debate- Although I respect him, I realized that I didn't like John McCain. At least I didn't like his demeanor. He was smug, glib, condescending, and flappable. I was disappointed and enlightened by this opinion, but still I thought I agreed more with McCain's politics than Obama, even if I didn't particularly like his person. I never felt truly committed.
When I stood at the voting machine, I held my finger poised, hovering above the Presidential candidates. It wasn't an immediate decision, even today, in the last hour. I was torn. I selected McCain, and even then, I wasn't sure.
Afterwards I was still questioning my choice. Did I make the right decision? I didn't think it would actually impact the results either way, but it would impact me. Did I vote consistently with what I believed? Did I know enough to believe in a candidate? I'm afraid I was a bit cowed. This doesn't mean that I wish I voted Obama, though sometimes I do. Even when I decided on McCain, I still believed Obama would easily win, and was excited at the prospect. I felt like it would be exciting if nothing else. That should have tipped me off, that one of the candidates excited me. Politics don't excite me. You can't be excited when you are ignorant.
I think I was cowed by expectations. My dad's, my church's, my 'party' that I have declared, again based on my father's recommendation. None of these people did anything to cow me, I just didn't inform myself well enough and commit to choosing a candidate of my own volition.
Again, I don't regret voting McCain... I'm just not sure. I'm disappointed in myself either way because I was influenced- since when do I cow to anything? That is the exact opposite of my badger nature!
And how could I not be excited for our country to have reached a place where it would elect a Black president, and overwhelmingly so? I'm proud to have witnessed and participated in such an important and historic event in our country, democracy, and the world alike.
As I listen to McCain's resignation speach, I like and respect him more. That was perhaps the most affection I've felt for him. Still I feel bad for John McCain, the old codger.
Bella will be excited. She'll get to hear her favorite name- her candidate many- many times over the next 4 years.
Right or wrong, I'm excited for this presidency and the inevitable change it will bring.

16 comments:

michelle said...

I don't feel any pressure at all to be a Republican just because I'm a Mormon. In fact, I choose to be a Democrat because I'm Mormon. It just feels right to me. I feel like it helps me to be more Christlike, in that I want to care for the poor, to take better care of this world that we have been given stewardship over, to provide education for all of God's children, to spread peace, to respect agency.

I am so excited and happy tonight, and proud to say that I voted for Obama. And now I will pray for him in the huge challenges that he will face.

rmt said...

I had a hard time choosing who to vote for because I was not a particular fan of either canidate. I can't even decide how I feel about the results of the election: I feel slightly disappointed, but also excited to see what the next four years will bring.
I just keep thinking that now what matters is that we focus on supporting Obama as our president and doing what we can to be good citizens.
I love what Michelle said about praying for Obama. Ditto that.
Anyway, I'm glad I'm not the only one with mixed feelings about the election!

Alison said...

Jessie, I really enjoyed this post. It was so honest (and I've read a TON of politically minded blogs this AM) Thank you.

Diana said...

I really like Michelle's comment. I too feel like for the most part the democrats make me feel like we are giving the kind of love towards others like Christ would have us do. My father-in-law feels like the underlying principle is agency so he likes the Republican way of doing things. (although I think Republicans spend more money on useless things)
I actually studied the candidates more than I have ever studied or paid attention to politics (so you could've talked to me too)
I voted for Obama and was so happy he won last night.

Robin said...

So, you pretty much took the words out of my mouth, though in the end, I ended up voting Obama. The phone call with my mom after she overheard my decision in talking to my sister (my mom is STAUNCHLY Republican. Like, I can't even properly describe..) was one of the hardest conversations I've ever had with her, because I knew how...disappointed and upset she was. But at the same time, it was liberating, and I felt like I really made my own choice. I'm still having those internal struggles about whether I made the "right" choice (mostly due to my guilt ridden nature) but I am so excited to see what Obama does for our country (:

Rin said...

You pretty much took the words out of my mouth too. I was on the fence the whole time and I ended up voting Obama mostly because of the last debate. I really disliked McCain's behaviour. And I also agree that I really liked his resignation speech. I liked him more then than ever.

And I'm super excited that Obama won. It was cool last night hearing all the cheering on the streets and the fireworks.

Jill said...

Great post Jessie! I feel pretty much the same way you do.

Hannah said...

I think it is okay to be undecided or conflicted. Really, I don't think I fit under the whole democratic umbrella, but if I register to be an Independent, I would have to vote that way in the prelims and didn't want that.

It is hard when you stop identifying with your parents party- all 4 of us voted differently from our parents. I voted my conscience and win or lose, I was prepared to support the winner. Now my concern is how hard congress is going to make implementing all these changes...I think Obama will stand by his convictions, but it is going to take work and support and coming together.

michelle said...

Sorry, in my passion I neglected to actually comment on your post!

I have definitely been conflicted in past elections. I don't enjoy not knowing which way to go, not knowing what to do. (I just didn't happen to feel that way this year.)

I should say it's harder for me to be a Democrat in our family than it is for me to be a Democrat in our church! But, what can you do? You have to vote your conscience.

I know it's going to be a hard road ahead for our country, but I am feeling hopeful, for the first time in a long time. I too thought that McCain's concession speech was very dignified, I was impressed.

Vanessa said...

Hi Jessie. I'm a friend of Kim Rehl's, I guess it's time to stop blog stalking you and make a comment! I feel exactly the way you do, only opposite. I'm mormon, and i voted for obama. Afterwards, I had the same feelings you did about whether I made the right choice. I finally made myself feel better by telling myself that in this particular election, I feel like either candidate elected would be better than George W. (who i voted for, twice.)

Dad/Fred said...

Just a couple of thoughts....
First of all, I am not at all fond of McCain. Neither am I fond of Bush. I am a conservative, both in social as well as fiscal policies. In recent years, the Republicans have drifted from the core values that conservative subscribe to. The two best presidents in my lifetime were JFK (Democrat) and Reagan (Republican). (The WORST was Jimmy Carter!!) I do vote my values, and McCain is closer to my values. The recent election was a feel good election. I don't vote my feelings, but vote on my values. JFK and Reagan recognized the impact of high taxes on the economy and both lowered taxes. In both cases, the receipt of taxes increased significantly and the economy prospered. I believe in the constitution, limited government, and freedom to work and prosper and freedom from government intrusion. I don't understand references to the Repubican party and Mormons. The church is adamantly non-partisan. It NEVER expresses support for political parties or candidates....AS IT SHOULD BE. Good government works from the center. I am concerned that we now have a very liberal president, joining a very liberal congressional leadership (Pelosi and Reed). There is no effective check and balance. It is a concern....

kim said...

Ditto your thoughts exactly. I voted for McCain but not because I like him at all. I am also somewhat ignorant but I felt that he was the lesser of two evils. I hopeing Obama will breathe some fresh air into the White House.

kim said...

P.S. I just read your dad's comment and I couldn't agree more. He rocks.

Denise said...

Amen in every way to what Fred said! He expressed my sentiments EXACTLY. I've never felt like I had to vote a certain way because of my membership in the church and have always been grateful that the Church doesn't ever back one particular candidate. I totally agree with what he said about this being a feel-good election. In Grandma's words, I felt like our choice was between Character and Charisma. I chose the candidate who most closely reflected my values, even though he wasn't my number-one pick.

And Nancy Pelosi scares me, too.

Susan said...

I absolutely LOVE it when Dad expresses an opinion. And what a fine one. I agree with Dad to the letter.

Thanks, Fred.

Anonymous said...

I am just now catching up on your blog and couldn't agree with your dad more!!! I too vote on values.

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