I'm a big fan of voting. I say it's a right that none of us have an excuse NOT to exercise. If your voting rights are intact (meaning, you're not a convicted felon and you're an actual US citizen), vote. Vote.
I'm from Texas. If you asked any non-Texan (or native Texan) to name off a list of Texas stereotypes, you might hear a few of the following: cowboy hats, horses, riding a horse to school (or work), conservative. Christian. Republican.
I, however, grew up in a home of all things Democrat. There were portraits of all of the Democratic presidents hanging in the hallway. For vacation one year, we went to Austin to visit the Lyndon B. Johnson library and museum. We lived on a street where during election time the yards were lined with campaign signs for whatever Republican candidate was running. And then there was our house. Sporting the "Dukakis '88" or "Clinton/Gore '96" sign. Many of these signs mysteriously went missing from time to time. Or were ripped up and scattered in pieces in our yard. My stepdad was (is) a hard-working, working-class man, with a deep commitment to his political party that prides itself on its commitment to the working-class people. As a kid in middle and high school I was the ONLY kid I knew whose parents did not vote in the REPUBLICAN primaries. I hated it.
When I was finally old enough to participate in a presidential election, the year was 2000. I voted absentee in county and city elections that year (I was off at college) and I registered to vote as a Republican... yes. Merely as an act of defiance to my stepdad (Um, I'm sorry Dad Tony!! Those were my reasons!). I happily marched to the polling place and cast my vote for George W. Bush. I felt like such a grown-up. And I felt like such a rebel.
And then there was the 2004 election year. If you don't know it about me, I actually was employed by Bush-Cheney '04, and spent 2 years of my life doing work for the reelection campaign. I got to meet the President, the First Lady, and The Vice President, along with some other very interesting people. I was living history and couldn't believe that I had landed such a fascinating job right after having graduated from college. A job so many others would have given anything to have. It was hard work. I was committed to my work. I enjoyed my work.
And now here we are. It's 2008. And we're deep in the throes of another election year. Names are being called. Attacks are being made. And I have no idea who I am voting for. The other 2 presidential elections in which I participated were easy for me. The first year I voted Republican because it was the opposite of what I'd been raised to do (that's what happens sometimes when you're 20). In 2004, I voted my convictions and what my convictions were at the time.
The problem is (actually it's NOT a problem!) that I am a different person now than I was 4 years ago. I've grown, stretched, changed, and have been challenged to new ways of thinking in many areas of my life. I like the person I have become... the person that God shapes me to be. So now I have to figure out how all of that will play out for me in this election year. For as I've already mentioned, I'm all about voting.
I did a tricky thing when I moved to Kentucky. Billy and I went to register to vote a while back as Kentuckians, and I (perhaps in another act of defiance?) registered as an Independent. I just couldn't commit either way. Democrat. Republican. I'm just me.
So... here's to research! And here's hoping that by November I'll have made up my mind.