Fri 18 Jan 08

When I was five years old I voted for Ronald Reagan for President. I remember my kindergarten class cheered when it was announced that he had won in a landslide in the school election at Sylvan Christian (I heard rumors that Mondale had pulled out a win over at Oakdale). I’m sure I didn’t fully appreciate the reasoning behind those votes until I got to high school and those same Sylvan voters were driving shiny new cars on their sixteenth birthdays.

These days, now that my vote counts for slightly more, I do my best to avoid politics until I absolutely have to. I couldn’t tell you any candidate’s stance on anything at this point. The week before voting I’ll swoop across the Internet and do my research. Not before that. Too much blather.

I tend to lean Democrat, though I do have a few die-hard opinions on issues that sometimes push me into a Republican vote. I value working for what you get in life. I realize taxation has to happen (though I would root for a Fair Tax), but I don’t want to pay for someone’s laziness. And I certainly don’t want to pay to fund shooting up other countries. I don’t like guns in general and wouldn’t mind loss of that particular American freedom. Abortion? Far too many gray nuances for me to base someone’s electability on. And on and on. More than anything I like to vote candidates that appear grounded and genuine. I want a president who is capable of making decisions with an open mind based on circumstance and not on what their party is supposed to support.

That’s why this whole process is so frustrating. We try to box in and label each candidate so we can count how many issues we agree with. What we need is a process to judge them as humans. How they respond to stress or joy. What hobbies or events make them light up? Tell me what you love/value and I’ll tell how you’ll vote/act to defend that love in presidential time. How do they respond to a variety of obstacles. Put the candidates in a presidential “Survivor” together. Make it a reality show, I’d love that, America would love that. Some independent network, unedited. See who works hard. See who fights for his/her team. If you make it a month long the bluster would fade and true colors would start to show by week two. This would be incredible.

My other memories from kindergarten at Sylvan:
– Watching a butterfly in an aquarium hatch from its cocoon.
– Accidentally hitting a kid in the nose with a fist-sized rock I when he popped up unexpectedly on the other side of the metal slide I was heaving it across.
– Having a crush on Micky Batts.
– Learning to ride my first bike on the painted lanes in the school parking lot.
– Mouthing off to a kid named Ben when he was making fun of Ben Knoester, saying something to the effect of “Well, you’re named Ben too, so you’re making fun of yourself.”
– Putting a two-inch long gash in my right knee courtesy of a fall in the parking lot after being pushed from behind by the above-named Ben. Crying and saying “he pushed me!” I still have a hefty scar on my knee from that fall.

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