I have never missed a chance to vote. Ever. From the moment I was eligible to participate in the electoral process, I have been fascinated with how it works. My brother and I were reared in a conservative home. Our hardworking parents provided us with everything we needed and as much of what we wanted as any other child we knew. We went to church every time the doors were opened and there was no alcohol in our house, except for that time we got caught smuggling a keg of Budweiser in to wet the whistles of a few friends that we invited over to a party Eric and I threw. We found out mom and dad were coming home early from their trip and we did a pretty damn good job of cleaning everything up. We put the barely touched keg under the house and had fairly well policed up the inside.
Eric mistakenly left the plastic keg top (Budweiser 16 gallons) in his pants and mom discovered it in the wash.
Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do!
The point of all this is that I’ve voted Republican since I had a vote. Although I’ve always considered the candidate and not so much the party, I just leaned further to the right almost all the time. Because of the business we’re in, it probably isn’t a smart thing for me to be outspoken about my political beliefs. Let’s face it, we need every single advertiser and reader we can get, so why would I purposefully alienate the Democrats among our readership? Among our friends. So, for almost all of my adult life, I think most people felt like I was more right than left. I never really gave them any feedback to confirm that, because I just haven’t talked much about politics.
Then I grew up. I got cancer. We have a business to run and protect. Our sons grew up. And, my country has gone to shit.
My political compass is spinning and there doesn’t appear to be a True North anymore. As I evaluate my political position, I couldn’t be farther from Republican politics. I believe in smaller government, a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body, states’ rights, marijuana legalization and a strong, but not oppressive military. I also believe we, as a country, must do everything we can do for the weakest among us. People need health insurance. Everyone should have the opportunity to get a great education. Those are the things I know and believe in.
What I can’t abide is the game of politics. If you follow my Facebook, you know that I have plugged myself into my first political debate. I have recently spent the day in Montgomery, Alabama at the State House in a room full of political types in nice suits, strutting around whispering to each other in little caucuses, to the exclusion of everyone else. I attended a “public meeting” of the Alabama Senate Judiciary committee where Senate Bill 326 was to be “discussed.” I got there early, so that I could get a good seat and so that I could maybe get the chance to speak and tell my story about why I wanted them to legalize medical cannabis in Alabama. Look at my last blog post. I have a hell of a story to tell. I know how to read and spell the word SUFFER. I was the second name on the list, which meant I should have been afforded the opportunity to speak in front of that gathering of about 150 people and a handful of legislators. At the last moment, the lists were swept up and we were told that the meeting had been changed and that no one would be allowed to speak except the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
What I found out later is that some of the members of the committee who were not sitting around the table were actually in the back of the room. They had decided not to vote, based on some kind of a deal that had been made that would allow the bill (SB326) to be given a favorable status and allowed to move on to the Rules Committee. Talk about watching the sausage being made!
I have since attended a peaceful rally in Vestavia, Ala., where I voiced my concerns over Sen. Jabo Waggoner’s insistence that he wouldn’t let that bill reach the senate floor for discussion because “he” didn’t think Alabama was ready to discuss the subject. If “he” had lived through the hell I’ve just been through, I think “he” might be singing a different tune. Cannabis is good medicine, but that isn’t what I came here to talk about.
I can’t vote for any of the announced Republican candidates for president. I couldn’t possibly vote for Hillary Clinton. I’m in a real political quandary. Then I saw an interview with Bernie Sanders. He’s a democratic socialist, whatever that is. But what I sense in him is that he is as upset about the current direction of our land as I am. And…he seems to say whatever is on his mind, without regard for whom it might upset. He fully speaks his mind. He might be the only truly transparent person in this race. I like that. I want that.
Now before any of you start challenging me about this, I don’t know a single other thing about Bernie Sanders. I will be doing research, listening and watching to see how this all unfolds. This election will be a big one for me.