I turned 18 back in 1993; I was free from my house, free to kill insurgents overseas, and free to vote in the November elections for the first time in my life.
Of those three privileges afforded to me on May 23, 1993, I only opted for the "Get Out Of Brooklyn Free" card. Voting, and anything even slightly resembling politics, government or civic duty turned me off like a short hipster rocking out to Lil Wayne and wearing a fur coat.
My family never discussed politics; they weren't citizens and therefore voting and rights and all that good stuff never came up in our house. You would think having come from Trujillo's DR would have made them more aware if nothing else, but no, not us. The most political thing I ever heard my mother utter was just a few years ago: "Is Reagan still alive?" Clearly, from her statement (and stank tone) I took away the notion that Reagan was not good, but she never said why.
In school, one of my academic awards was signed by the elder President Bush; so how could he be so bad? Basically, I didn't know diddly about politics.
But this year I decided that it was about time to get serious and grown and become more involved in the world around me. Besides, this year it was exciting. Hillary. Barack. Rudy Giuliani?! Who let HIM in?!?! I HAD to follow this election, if only out of morbid curiosity...
Yesterday, I actually got up while it was still dark out to go and freakin vote. I had butterflies in my stomach. I had my voter registration card in hand, read the instructions like three times, gave one last look at the candidates' positions and then made the two block journey to Ns school. To vote. Me. Voting.
It was not without incident.
The machine broke. The poll workers didn't know what to do and a women on line in front of me had to call the board of elections and straightened it out, but for 20 minutes there I got a bad feeling. But I waited patiently. I knew that The Enemy, as my mom calls the devil, was testing me, my convictions. So I waited.
Another woman was having a hard time- they didn't have her name in that book thingy that you have to sign and she was losing her freaking mind, even called the poll worker in charge "some fucking woman" while on the phone with someone, and there was nearly a fight. But I stood there and waited patiently.
And I got to vote.
It feels good. I feel good. Empowered. And absolutely, without a doubt in love with my country right now.
I wonder why I waited so long to do this?
(Meanwhile, in the words of Eddie Murphy, from his "black president" skit on the Comedian album... "The motherfucker WON?!?!")
*smooches...in awe of the landslide victory of the new, first Black President*
Hats off to President-Elect Obama, who was able to motivate a lot of first time voters like myself. I didn't believe him, in him or for him. But he proved me wrong and WOW, not a lot of people can do that. I pray (yes, pray, I pray sometimes. SHUT. Up.) that he serves us well.
And hats off to Sen. John McCain, whose concession speech, honestly, moved me to tears. His words made me make up with America tonight. We're friends again. For the first time in YEARS I'm not really considering moving to DR.
I think I will stick it out here for the long haul.
*makes plans to renew US Passport*