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I remember when I was in seventh grade. It was the 1968 Presidential Election. Hubert Humphrey was the Vice President under Lyndon Johnson. He was the Democratic candidate for President that year. The election happened. He lost to Nixon. The day after the election, I was in first period, which for me was English. Our teacher, Miss Rossi, was in tears that morning. She was so upset that she couldn’t stop the tears when the bell rang and class began.

For that hour, Miss Rossi spoke of the election. Mainly, she spoke about the Electoral College and although I was in seventh grade, it was the first time I learned anything about the body that elects our president and vice president. Before that, we had been taught that we, the people, vote for and elect the president. I don’t know why the text books hadn’t told us differently when we studied the elections in fifth grade, but they hadn’t. That year, even on the morning after the election, it appeared that HHH (Hubert Horatio Humphrey) had won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. It later turned out, once all of the ballots were counted, that Nixon did indeed win the popular vote (there was less than a 1% divide between the two candidates), but in the early days post election, it appeared differently.

That’s what I think about when I hear the term Electoral College. It didn’t seem fair then and it still seems like there should be a better way; one that better reflects the popular vote. I still think of the passion with which Miss Rossi spoke and I wish that more Americans had that passion. We, I think, are too complacent. We vote then we accept until the next time. We don’t do anything about perceived injustices until it happens again.

So this ThrowBackThursday post I dedicate to Miss Rossi wherever she is. I think she’s still around. She was very  young in 1968. It was only her second year teaching so probably around 23. I know that somewhere, Barbara Rossi is sitting with tear-filled eyes and wondering why we still have the Electoral College.

 

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Today I took Anderson with me to drop off my ballot and that of my daughter’s. In Oregon, all voting is done by mail so there’s no going to the polls on election day. As my regular readers know, I homeschool Anderson who is in first grade. We’ve been talking about elections and the duties of the President and other government issues. With a first grader, it’s just a “brushing” of the subject, not at all in depth. It’s not in the curriculum but I wanted him to start getting the information; to start to be award of the world around him; to get the idea that voting and participating in his government is a duty.

I don’t know what he thought about it. We got to the drop off point (a library) before they opened so we waited outside along with a growing crowd. When we arrived there were about six other people waiting to turn in their ballot. By the time the doors opened about ten minutes later, there were at least forty people waiting with ballot in hand. I think he got the idea that it was something important. He had watched me fill out my ballot just minutes before we arrived at the library then he saw everyone waiting and then dropping their ballot in the box. His eyes were big. I think ge understood that it was an important thing to do.

That’s all I can do. I can talk to him. I can expose him to the process. His parents don’t watch TV news or discuss politics or even the process. I don’t think his father is even registered to vote. But I can show him; tell him; take him. And then I can hope that it takes!

(I don’t normally post twice in one day but this was on my mind and I figured I would put it out there to get it out of my mind.)

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I’m exhausted. I’m trying to work on my Nanowrimo novel. I continue to face comments and questions about how progressive California is and how it’s just not possible that Californians would vote for a ban on gay marriage.

Below is a map taken from the website of the California Secretary of State. It shows how each county voted on the proposition. I have added the writing in red.

Let the map speak for itself.

How California Voted on H8

How California Voted on H8

I have been watching with such sadness and great hope as thousands of Californians march, rally, demonstrate, and hold candlelight vigils to show their outrage at the continued prejudice against them and on losing a very basic civil and human right.

May hope, prayer, and justice prevail.

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I’m not excited about much in this election.  I don’t feel we had any real choices past the primaries.

However, watching the long lines and the excitement of so many millions of Americans on this day and over the past months, I can’t help but hope that they will be victorious.  Why?  Because we need vast numbers of Americans to feel invested in this country.  I think that is one of the major problems right now.  People have felt for so long that they have not had a voice in what happens in this country and it has shown in the way our country has strayed.  I think that if more people, millions more, feel that their voice counts when they go to the polls, that determination to improve this country will really change.  The determination and will of so many will manifest in real change; real progress.

I do remember feeling about a candidate the way that so many people feel about Obama.  It was a long time ago.  I do remember crying and jumping up and down with my kids when Bill Clinton won the first time around and again the second time.  I remember my kids getting caught up in my own enthusiasm. That was the last time “my side” won.  That’s been far too long.

I do get it.  It’s difficult for me to get behind this candidate.  My candidate got left behind and that’s when I lost all interest in this election.  But I do get it.  I do hope that Obama wins, not because I back him but because I think that Americans, young and old, rich and poor, black and white, male and female, gay and straight, all of us, need to have this psychological boost.

I fear what will happen if he doesn’t win.

I think we all should.

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