No, not THAT party!!

I early-voted last week in the primaries.

This is the first time I have ever voted in a primary, and it’s also the first election in which I have ever donated money to a political candidate. I guess that this time around, I feel that there is so much at stake and our current embarrassment of a president has run this country so far into the ground, that we have a huge opportunity to make changes. I’d say “it can’t get much worse, right?” but then I think back to Orwell’s “1984” and realize that, while we’re getting closer and closer every day to that kind of reality, it’s not entirely here yet. However, Dubya has another 329 days in office (and counting!) and I’m fairly certain he’s going to do a lot more damage before he’s booted out of the Oval Office.

I have never wanted to vote in a primary election before because doing so would officially register me as a Democrat, and I have never wished to declare an official affiliation with a major political party. After all, I have voted for third-party candidates plenty of times, and will continue to do so as I see fit.

But I like what Barack Obama has to say, and I definitely would prefer to see him in office over Hillary Clinton. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll vote for whichever one of them wins the Democratic primary, but his ideas inspired me to donate to his campaign.

Anyway, when I went to vote, the lady at the computer asked me which party I wanted to vote in, and slowly and methodically entered my information from my voter card. I don’t think she liked computers very much. She completed and printed out my paperwork and very carefully instructed me to first take it to a little old lady at one table and next to a little old lady at another table five feet away. Then a third little old lady walked me back to a voting booth and inserted her key to bring up the computerized ballot. I set down my purse on the floor and hovered my finger above the screen, ready to press the “Obama” button, when I realized all the candidates were Republicans! I went back to the computer lady and told her she’d registered me for the wrong party. They had to make phone calls to headquarters, do a bunch of stuff on the computer, and assure various people that I was, in fact, incorrectly registered and not trying to vote in BOTH primaries (like it was somehow my fault that she’d clicked “R” instead of “D” on her screen!). I think it’s interesting because I very clearly said “Democrat” when she initially asked me which party… was it an accident? Who knows.

At lunch that same day, Brittney and Yvonne and I got into a conversation about politics with a man and woman seated at the table next to us. We started out discussing the situation in Serbia/Kosovo, because the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade were being shown live on CNN on the TV in the corner. The man started asking those “feeler” questions where, if you’re perceptive enough, you’ll pick up that he’s a liberal and trying to see what your political affiliation is.

We ended up talking about Obama’s campaign for a long time. He said that he and his wife and young son had gone to the Obama rally the day before and he was really surprised that it was not just “a sea of black folks” like him, and that Obama’s campaign was attracting not only black people (he pointed to himself) but also white people (he pointed to Brittney), Hispanics (pointing to Yvonne), and mixed-race (pointing to me)!

I thought… me? Mixed-race? How interesting that someone would think that about me! I’ve never really given it that much thought, assuming that I look pretty much Caucasian… but apparently my looks aren’t that cut-and-dried. I don’t know everything about my genealogy, and it’s certainly possible, especially given some of my physical features and my olive skin tone. I think it would be really neat if I had some nonwhite heritage, actually. 

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