The first time I voted was in 1976. I was 19 years old and a junior in college and took my voting privileges seriously. I did my homework and voted for the candidate I thought would do the best job for our broken country. That election the candidates were Gerald Ford (R), and Jimmy Carter (D). My first Presidential election and I voted Republican even though I was (am) a die hard liberal. I voted for Ford because I liked him, but also because I did not trust Carter....I did not trust someone coming into the White House with a Christian agenda. It's the only time I have voted for a Republican Presidential candidate, although I have voted for Republican governors and green party officials if I like there policy stands.
Since 1976 I have voted in every election except one, 1984 Ronald Regan and Walter Mondale...and that was only because I could not get to the polls to vote...for some reason. Of all the times I've voted for President my vote has been cast for the winning candidate two times, 1992 and 1996, all the other times I have voted for the loser.
My criteria for casting my ballot is based on social justice issues, offering equal opportunities for all that this great land offers whether that is medical and dental care or education or employment. I believe that sometimes government has to set the standard for justice because we won't: states will have huge variances in their policies - citizens in one state will have rights that citizens in another will not, the right to marry or to decide when and or whether to carry a pregnancy to term, a minimum standard for health care that all citizens are afforded so no one goes with out doctor care, hospitalization, mental health care and dental care....sometimes we need the federal government to make us accountable to the needs of people around us. I think we need the government to put forth regulations that control the extremities of our corporate, free trade, global and market industries.
So, tonight we see what happens with this election....it's clear, based on the issues I care about which candidate I chose....now I just hope I don't have start a job search in Canada...
One thing has changed in the last 32 years since I cast my first vote. I now believe that religion should have and must have a voice in politics. I believe we need our politics to reflect the vast differences the people of this nation hold in our beliefs and values, and not have them predetermined by a vocal minority.