Posers who Vote
February 21, 2008
I'm going to vote this year. In fact, I haven't been this excited about an election since I was a preteen and Linda Lingle ran for mayor and promised to build us a skate park if she won. That year, my grommet friends and me shacked up in my parent's bedroom and watched the coverage on a local news channel. We all let out a "whoop" when the votes came in favor of Lingle–skate park here we come!
And we got our skate park. Of course, by the time it was completed, I had already taken a major hang off the half-pipe in my backyard and forever swore off skateboarding for slightly safer things like boys who skateboard.
I believe it's acceptable for a kid to back a candidate based on promises that pertain to them, but as an adult, I need to process a whole ton of information and read between the lines before voting–especially for a presidential candidate.
The problem being that even though I've more than doubled in age since my last favorite election, I don't feel all that more intelligent. I mean, until recently, I didn't even know what a caucus was or how it worked.
This lack of knowledge is extremely problematic for someone as opinionated and vocal as I am. I like to have something to argue with random people and presidential elections are awesome for that, but what's the point of having an opinion if you come out sounding like a complete idiot?
Last week we ran a story by Anthony Pignataro in our Love, Sex and Politics issue that broke down Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. While that was really helpful in giving me the basics (and shedding the light on what the hell a caucus is), I still feel like I don't know enough to make a wise decision–especially because he did such a good job of showing how close to "equal" they are.
So what do I do? Well, I know for a fact that I won't be voting for Republican John McCain. Why? It's simple: who in their right mind would vote for the old white guy in such a historic race for presidency? Boring!
He could be Gandhi reincarnate–ready to save the world and the baby seals– but there's still no way I'm telling my great-grandchildren that I didn't vote for either the first African American or woman to win a major party's nomination for President of the United States.
Stupid? Perhaps. But I can't help but wonder how many other people are out there thinking the same thing. In fact, there are a lot of Maui people in the 25-35 age group that have no idea what the hell is going on in the government. I know this because they're my peers.
I found that once I came clean that I was a political imbecile, people around me started 'fessing up, too. Which is at once a comforting and frightening thought. My friends and I have all agreed to vote this year, but we couldn't give you a good reason (other than it seems like a good medium for stories to tell our future generations).
Granted, this is the same group of people–now tattooed and toting keiki of our own–that backed Lingle when we were kids.
Naturally, there are those people in my age group who have their opinionated fingers on the pulse of the election. These are the people I listen to because it's a great (easy) way to learn about politics. But I wish I knew the percentage of American voters who felt strongly that they "knew" their candidate. I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of America is voting on a whim.
That, or I just hang out with dumb people.
As I was writing this column, my husband called to ask who we'd support in the Democratic Party Caucuses.
"Are you going to stand on the opposite side of me just to prove a point," I asked.
"Probably," he said. "John McCain all the way. Oh wait. He's not a Democrat? Damn it!"
Starr Begley thought of a dozen other adjectives when her stepdaughter came over for a weekend sleepover in PJ's that said, "Sassy just like my Mommy." MTW
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