Sometime after 8:40 this morning I walked into Town Hall and registered for the first time to vote. Today, I turned 18. On the registration form, I was given the opportunity to check off a box for Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, or No Party. After a moment's excited hesitation, I checkmarked Democratic.
This was not a decision I made overnight. This was a decision I took time to arrive at.
Deciding to become a Democrat was more than a check in a box. It was and will be a statement of belief, faith, and hope.
I've been sympathetic to Democratic politics throughout my high school life (with varying levels of actual awareness and activity). Since the Democrats took power in the Congress, I've found myself increasingly frustrated. There was the slim majority, Joe Lieberman's outrageous behavior, and President Bush's veto.
As election 2008 rolled in, I found myself comparing candidates. I didn't care for Edwards early on, was sure Hillary would win, and began to root for Barack Obama as my first choice. I liked Hillary, to be sure, and at first figured I might as well support Obama and see where he would go.
We all know what happened during the primary. I was among the thousands – millions – caught up in it. As the battle continued, I found myself admiring Obama's campaign style, his clear executive ability, his skillful speechmaking, and his positions, which, though more conservative than my own, covered a number of my priorities. As the clash grew bitter my vague inclination and subsequent admiration gave way to full support. I will never forget the election party 2008 I attended.
The excitement of the race would subside, of course. I knew that as a Liberal welfare state proponent who opposed the Death Penalty, I was to the left of the President and the Beltway types he foolishly let into his administration. There was the betrayal on wiretapping and the less-than-spectacular effort on Healthcare Reform. Last January, I watched in disgust as my home state elected Scott Brown as our Senator.
Most people I know, including some politically-active types, are independents. They are unregistered and many find something about party registration disdainful. While I can understand frustration and mistrust of politicians and ideologies after the proud and glorious march of ideas and catastrophes in the 20th and 21st centuries, I was never able to agree. To me, by registering as a Democrat, I am not only being honest about my very real bias but joining a movement. I saw that Gallup poll about American political ideologies; and I hear from plenty of normally-reasonable people the most cold and prejudiced statements on the subject of welfare, about which I believe the American people (and myself) are woefully underinformed. I registered as a Democrat today because I want it known that I am not and never shall be part of any Silent Majority, am not complacent, and shall carry the banner forward to a brighter dawn.
For any grammatical or spelling errors that have escaped my revision, or any poorly articulated statement that may offend, I apologize. For the conviction and passion that underlies said statements, I offer no apology, and never shall.
Update: Holy shit. Reclist. No way.
Update 2: Top of the Reclist....I'm honored.