On the day that I turned 21, I walked a few blocks to the fire station in Sunnyvale, where I was able to register to vote. Some years later, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution was passed, and the voting age was lowered to 18. But, whatever the eligibility factor might have been, I was eager to become the first person in my family to cast a ballot. Since then, I’ve never missed an election.
Although both of my parents were natural-born citizens of the U.S., they were not voters. In fact, I doubt that they had ever registered, and I never questioned them about the fact. Children of my generation simply didn’t do things like that.
I recall being given three choices: Democrat, Republican, or “decline to state.” I chose the latter, even though it sounded somewhat perverse, because I honestly didn’t know enough about either party to make a determination. However, once I realized that “declining to state” precluded my participation in primary elections, I changed my status.
Over the decades, I don’t think I’ve ever missed a presidential or gubernatorial election. I’m pretty sure that I’ve cast a ballot in nearly all special, school board, and local elections, as well. But, now I find myself in a bit of a conundrum. My disgust with party politics seems to be compounding daily, and our political system offers no real alternative...