2000, 2004, 2008

About this time in 2000 I was attending Armstrong Atlantic State in Savannah, GA, working on my second undergrad degree and watching that historic election very closely. At the time I was taking an American History class, and after having stayed up all night watching election returns, watching the networks first declare Gore the winner, then Bush, then announcing that Florida was still in play, and had fewer than 2000 votes separating the candidates. My American history teacher spoke to us at length during every class while the recount was going on, talking about how important this election was, how historic the events we were witnessing were going to be, how in the years to come this election would be marked as a turning point for the country in one way or another. She of course didn't know how prophetic she was being. At the time the only things that seemed to be at stake in the election were the standard issues and the standard lines of liberalism, versus conservatism. In hindsight we know just how much was at stake, and how different our world might have been if those handful of votes had gone a different way, or had been counted a different way.

4 years ago I was in New York, but my residence was Connecticut. It was the only Presidential election that was held while I was in that state. With 4 years of Bush in power we had a much clearer picture of what was at stake, and what was happening to the country, but perhaps still not clear enough. I can at least sympathize with those who couldn't "switch horses mid-stream" or still couldn't see the bigger picture of where we were headed. That election I had three choices, New York, Connecticut, or, through a quirk of law, I was still eligible to vote absentee in Georgia, which was the choice I made. New York and Connecticut weren't in play that year, they were going Democratic and all I could do was throw my vote in to help make the mandate clearer. Georgia on the other hand was a place where my vote might make a difference, so I obtained an absentee ballot and voted. I'm happy to say that Chatham county, were my vote was counted went blue that year, though the rest of the state didn't follow suit. Again in 2004 that election had the feeling of being enormously important, maybe even more so than in 2000 since some of the reasons for that importance were readily obvious. And after Florida the feeling that every single vote really does matter was stronger than ever.

I may be speaking from political bias, but this year I just can't see how anyone doesn't see clearly where we are, and what we need to do. My candidate didn't make it out of the primaries, (though I am actually thankful for that since I was backing John Edwards, and his affair would have ended his campaign VERY poorly), but I am still happy and proud to have the choice that I have. The historical importance of this campaign has grown even past the previous two and it is impossible not to feel the weight of history, and the eyes of future generations bearing on us as we prepare to vote. 8 years of a party whose deep fear of science and reason has left us enormously vulnerable, and possibly well past the point of saving our planet and our selves. 8 years of a party whose fear of change, and hatred for any culture not their own has led us not only to wars with outside influences, but to a cultural war within our own borders. 8 years of disdain for the fact that there are other people on this planet, and that our actions have considerable impact on them too. 8 years of ignoring the international laws that we helped put in place to prevent exactly the types of acts that we ourselves are perpetrating. 8 years of distrust. 8 years of rule bending and breaking and convincing us that it is in our best interest. 8 years of allowing corporate ideals to be put ahead of... well... everything. 8 years of lies. 8 years of breaking the spirit of the American public and teaching us that it is okay that we are being surveilled and recorded and watched from every lamp post and street corner. 8 years of dwindling American freedoms. 8 years of us blindly accepting all of that.

THIS is the most important election that I have ever voted in, and I can't wait to actually do it.

1 Response to "2000, 2004, 2008"

  • addisonbr Says:

    I'd argue that 2004 was a far more important election than this one. This year we have a relatively moderate Republican running against a relatively moderate Democrat. Four years ago we had George Bush (George Bush!) running for re-election (re-election!) with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress... McCain and Obama both strike me as good men, and there is a limit to how much damage a Republican executive can do in pandering to his base, with a Democratic legislative branch.

    I'm not saying this election isn't important - every election is important. But I don't even think it's the most important election of the last five years.