The Election of 2004

September 11, 2008

Another creative writing assignment. We were told to write about a time that we wanted something we didn’t get. Since I (would like to think that I) don’t have a melodramatic bone in my body. I went with the 2004 election. With election season here again, I felt this would be appropriate.

I wasn’t even eighteen.

I wasn’t even eighteen, and yet the only thing on my mind was the election. During the fall of 2004, I became politically aware. Of course, I had voted before. I mean, I voted in my middle school’s mock election in 2000. When voting involved pushing a button on a computer and going about my day. When voting didn’t matter. When Gore won.

Politics and high school do not mix. Or perhaps they mix too well, like fire and gasoline, inevitably causing a spark. Because really, high school is ‘politics.’ I lost a friend or two because I forgot the trope that one should never discuss religion and politics in the cafeteria. With all the self-righteousness a seventeen year old could muster, I proselytized for Kerry. Even when friends reminded me, “You’re not even old enough to vote!” I still didn’t stop. And so the friends left the lunch table.

When the election finally came, and the next day I learned that Bush had won with a ‘mandate,’ for some reason, the jokes about ‘man dates’ didn’t quite cut it. I had put my faith in the American people. I couldn’t imagine how they could vote a man into office a second time, a man that had completely ruined our standing in the world and our conditions at home.

Which is why this year scares me. Because I care again. And this time, I am old enough to vote. This time, I believe that the American people couldn’t possibly vote in another term of ‘the guy (or gal) next door.’ I have not learned my lesson. But I suppose this never-ending string of Greek comedies and tragedies, this four year cycle of hope and loss, will teach me soon enough.

In my high school election, Kerry won.

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