Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Days Past - A Family Story

My parents are older - their mid- to late-80's. My father became eligible to vote in 1942, my mother in 1945. As far as I know, they have voted in every election, local, state, federal, they have been able to do so. That means my father's first Presidential vote was cast for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, resulting in the first Truman Administration. My mother told me that the only election she considered not voting was 1972. She detested Nixon, but thought McGovern an awful candidate; she did what she could, though, and went and voted anyway.

She told me the following story about her first Presidential election, in 1948. She was living in NYC, with her best childhood friend, Mary. The two of them worked at a hospital, and were generally enjoying their early adult years, the details of such enjoyment best left to the imagination of others (she is my mother, you know). She told me that she and Mary thought they were the only two people to vote for Harry Truman in the city and state of NY. Thomas Dewey was so popular, and the air of inevitability around him was palpable. She and Mary voted on Tuesday, went to work (they worked overnights, as auditors in the hospital accounting office; when I was a night auditor at a couple hotels, we used to exchange stories about how much fun it was to make stupid mistakes that took hours to find). They had not been listening to reports of the election - early reports were still running with the narrative that Dewey would win quite handily - and in the morning were feeling pretty glum. As they left the elevator, a man was getting on. He looked at the two of them, and snapped, "I suppose you two voted for that little son-of-a-bitch!" Then, composing himself, he apologized profusely. Mom and Mary were less shocked at what the man had said (even though, as she reminded me, this was a different time, and men did not speak to strangers, especially women, in such a way), as what it meant. One of them asked the man what he was talking about. He said that Truman had been declared the winner of the election in the middle of the night.

I relate this story because it's a nice little piece of family history. Also, to give McCain supporters hope, because Dewey, like Obama, was thought by everyone who followed these things, to have the election sewn up. In anticipation of a sweep not just of the Executive, but of Congress, Republicans were buying property all over Washington, which they would soon have to sell, because they wouldn't be needing it. Anything can happen, and it isn't over until one of the candidates reaches 270 Electoral Votes.

While anyone with a brain cell should know who I support, I would urge anyone and everyone to GO VOTE TODAY!!! I do not care about your politics. I do not care whom you support. Get out there, stand in line, get a cup of coffee and a donut if you need to, and just do it.

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More