I’ve been political my entire life.
Not just that, I’ve been a blazing blue dot in my glowing red state — Alabama — before I even really understood what that meant.
I remember being a little girl on the playground of Robinson Elementary the day of the 1988 Bush/Dukakis election — voting was held in our school gym and our school also had a student election. My family attended a conservative church that had actually passed around Bush/Quayle pins in the offering plate the Sunday prior to the election (so illegal) but I knew nothing about what was going on at age nine actually.
My friend Kurtis asked me who I was going to vote for and I told him I wasn’t sure. He then replied, “You know Bush wants to tell you and all women what to do with their bodies, right?” Well, my nine-year-old self had NO idea what he was talking about — but I was having none of that business.
I marched right in and placed my first Democratic vote.
Then, by the 1992 election, I had a much better grasp of the issues in the election and I was all in for the Clinton/Gore ticket. At the time, my father worked a job that had him in Arkansas every other week and — to his great credit — he brought me back the Clinton/Gore gear I continually requested despite the fact he was NOT a supporter.
I was thrilled when they won and even still have Maya Angelou’s inaugural poem that I clipped from the newspaper and saved.
In fact, the very first question I ever asked my best friend when we met on the school bus in high school in 1994 was, “What do you think about Bill Clinton?” We still laugh about that.
I missed getting to vote for him in the second election by two months but his campaign headquarters in our city was two blocks from our high school and we went and volunteered.
Again, bless him, my dad even helped my bestie and me miss school to get to hear President Clinton speak at a local college that same year.
President Obama’s election is another significant memory that will always be near my heart, even if he didn’t carry my state. I know he had my vote.
In 2017, during the first Doug Jones campaign, I was thrilled to get to take my daughter to hear him and Vice President Biden speak here in our city. It was a wonderful experience for both of us.
Even if my state ends up in the red column, it is incredibly important to me that my one vote be counted differently — and that I am sure of it.
And this is a strange and scary time as we all know.
As it happens, I am an immunocompromised and live with several chronic illnesses so I have been staying home and totally avoiding crowds with this pandemic.
Of course, my state has made provision for mail-in absentee ballots and for in person absentee voting as well.
However, I have considered every bit of that — and with the rhetoric we have all heard straight from the mouth of the one already attempting to discredit legitimate absentee votes, I simply cannot do it.
I have heard too much hate, too many lies, too much prejudice. . . TOO MUCH.
My vote will not be suppressed. I WILL NOT BE SILENCED.
Despite my misgivings and concerns about crowds, my husband is going to load up my smartchair literally at 5 AM on Election Day (in hopes that we can spend most of our time in line outdoors), we are going to mask up, we will distance ourselves from others as best we are able, we will vote, and we will WATCH our ballots go into the machines.
Then we will come home, turn on the election coverage, and await returns through the day.
Why take such a chance to vote in person with COVID numbers looking like they do?
Because it’s the only way I can know for sure that, when my state’s voting numbers are in on November 3rd, one of those blue numbers is absolutely mine — and NO ONE can take it away.