When I decided to actually vote in 2008 I had to come to grips with something that I thought I felt very strongly about. Before you start to assault me with negative innuendo or tell me how stupid I am remember I did exactly the opposite of what I felt, at the the time, was the right thing to do. My decision to vote was something I had to convince myself to do. It was hard but I knew that after 16 years of watching our government do absolutely nothing for me that my view of voting may be wrong. I voted and I voted for Obama so please keep that in mind while I attempt to tell my story.
My name is Ronnie Rucker and I have never used a nickname, codename, or whatever the proper term is for peoples anonymous names. Anyways I'm now just about to turn thirty five and I voted for Obama this past November and I'm very proud I did. Like I implied above, I was a firm believer that voting was a bunch of bullshit. I held the view that what is the point of voting when the people you vote for either don't do anything, get obstructed from being able to do something, or just plain o'le lied about what they intended to do.
When I look at the years I have been eligible to vote I think back to graduating high school in 1992 and thinking George Bush Senior didn't care about brown people like me and at the time, I may have been ill informed, I didn't feel like Clinton did either.
Growing up in Hawaii, I remember asking the volunteers that handed out voter registrations forms why if the politicians, Bill Clinton in this case, thought our votes were important why don't they come to Hawaii to talk to us, address our needs, or at least acknowledge our being part of America too. I remember having to learn everything I could about the electoral system at my public library all on my own because civics or anything close to civics wasn't being taught in my public school. After absorbing everything I could on my own and without someone to either explain it further in depth or even dispute what I had just taught myself I came to the conclusion that the electoral system was a farce/outdated and the number of electoral votes Hawaii was worth was insignificant in regards to winning a national election. So I guess I kinda figured out the answer to the questions I posed to the volunteers that never seemed to have an answer that ringed as informed or truthful for that matter.
I also remember wondering to myself why people were telling me that Clinton had won before the polls even closed in Hawaii. It seemed wrong that someone could actually be called a winner when my neighbors were still standing in line at the elementary school behind my house but my self taught electoral vote class confirmed exactly why. Our votes simply didn't count when it came to electing the President and only mattered when it came to state officials and if any of you are familiar with Hawaii politics it is one that was often very corrupt in nature so even voting for them seemed to not matter cause you always knew the Japanese guy or the guy that had the biggest bodyguard was gonna win. These things may have changed by now but that was how it seemed at the time. Anyways I didn't vote in the first year of my eligibility.
So with that being said, Bill Clinton thankfully won without my vote. Now I only said thankfully because in retrospect it's not to hard to see how worse of shape America would be in today should either George Bush Senior or if Perot had won today. Now at the time I was working at a auto detailing shop in downtown Honolulu. Although Hawaii is often referred to as "Paradise" I can attest that it is only "Paradise" for those that have plans to leave in a week, those lucky enough to be third generation Japanese living in the house their Grandparents built before the war, or very financially secure. As someone that didn't get to call Hawaii "paradise" I had to work six days a week washing cars just to be able to afford my seven hundred dollars rent plus utilities in the ghettoest part of Honolulu. Higher education wasn't something someone from my neighborhood even thought of at the time. It was either join the military, work a blue collar job, or learn to speak Japanese and valet in Waikiki. Like I said, I took the blue collar route.
His first term went by and all I remember people talking about how great the economy was either getting or had gotten. Now I saw how the malls had gotten bigger, buildings rising outta nowhere, military presence growing, public transportation go 24 hours in some cases, yet while everyone else seemed to getting more and more financial secure I saw my status stay just that status. So when it came time for the next election, firmly believing Hawaii's voted didn't count coupled with the fact that President Clinton's agenda apparently was aim towards people like me but missed me individually by a long shot I decided to not vote.
Again by my above stated reason, President Clinton won. Really Bob Dole seriously? At this point I had been working at that same auto detailing shop for 4 years. I must admit I had gotten a raise and a promotion by this time but I also must add that I had to fight for it by threatening to quit when I was the only person able to be depended upon to do the job right. Auto detailing isn't something someone does for four years without either starting their own business or moving on to something better. Even with the raise I found myself in the position that to support myself I had to get a second job. Because of the hours I kept at the auto detailing shop the only job that I could fit in was one that started at midnight. The reason I needed to virtually work every last hour I could was because of an emergency appendectomy billed directly to me because neither job I held provided health insurance.
Anyways as many in America that either never had or didn't have insurance during his first term watched as President Clinton's attempt to help the uninsured ultimately fizzled I watched with extreme disappointment. Time passed but when I got the bill from the Hospital I remember thinking "thank god I didn't vote for that guy" because he failed at helping with the one thing that would have helped me avoid my need to ultimately claim bankruptcy at age 26. Car repo'ed, bills piling up, harassing phone calls, and the thought I'd never be able to get from under this all lead to that point in my life. At the time it was all his fault but again my self taught civics class showed me that it was not just his but every elected official and the lobbyists reluctantcy to get behind it.
Then came the great moment of Blow Job politics. Look I can't fault President Clinton for liking blow jobs from fat chicks cause that's how I like it. Fat and willing to do some dirty work. I can't fault him for lying about it either. No man should have to admit to anything especially blow jobs if it really has nothing to do with the lives of every American. I know lying to Americans isn't cool but really it's not like he said we don't torture people. Anyways My decision to not vote when Gore made is play for the President wasn't because of Clintons blow job denial but because during that whole impeachment thing all I could think about is what elected officials really do for America. After the dust settled all I got out of our government was a President that was impeached for lying about a blow job. Impeachment? Really what the hell is that in the end if the guy gets to keep his job. I got exactly zero from that guy.
Now I know what your thinking because believe me I heard it from everyone about how it's non-voters like me that might have cost Gore the stolen election. In retrospect I believe yours and everyone else that freaked out on me may be right but it ain't my fault that every elected official during my lifespan at that point didn't do anything for me. So to y'all that either blame me or even hate me for not voting I say you should have worked harder to elect people that cared about everyone. From my side of the tracks I'm willing to say it's everyones fault we got BUSH2.
Again I had BUSH2 to look at for his first term caring about rich people and how he could actually get his chance at getting revenge against Iraq for putting his fathers picture on the floor. I laughed every day that guy did the things he did because In the end he didn't care about me or you for that matter so he couldn't really touch me. That was until September eleventh. I'm not a conspiracy theory dude but I believe BUSH2 had everything to do with it. His actions/behavior/ignorance towards the world brought the anger to our shores. He was the reason my friend from high school died that day and the reason why my cousin Sean died in the subsequent war in Iraq.
Needless to say I didn't vote for Kerry cause what was he gonna do for me. Nothing, and I say that not because I'm a mind reader but because no one had up to this point in my life so why would they start now. He wasn't gonna bring Jason or Sean back so I just didn't.
Like many of you here, I tried to do things to shed light on things that bothered me politically. Some of you I guess wrote diaries, used art to express your feeling, took pictures, or even marched in many of the anti-war protests. I on the other had publish a free magazine called Pendejo Magazine that in retrospect brought me to the point where I decided to actually voted. This free magazine I made and distributed, even though I blamed it on me being brown, probably is the real reason I was placed on the no-fly list.
Anyways It was my rights being so blatantly being infringed on that pushed me to go against everything I had felt about voting. Now I would have voted for anybody other than a republican at that point but felt like Obama was the guy for me. He was a person of color, seemed to care about everyone and talk about the type of changes I wanted to. Most importantly Health insurance.
With all that out of the way, all I can say to all of you that want Bush and everyone else involved in torture to be throw in jail is I'm sorry you didn't get what you wanted. I know how you feel. I have never gotten anything I ever wanted or needed from my government. I feel your pain.
We all know BUSH2 is a criminal and all those that willing participated in torture are too but after my experience and my trail to where I'm at today I know that you can't always get what you want and sacrifice is sometimes something we all have to live with. Now I know you didn't get what you want but I have to say that I did. Today I got on an airplane and didn't get finger banged by TSA. I didn't even get a second glance. I know President Obama didn't take me off the list personally but I'm pretty sure his administration had something to do with it.
He will get my vote in 2012 no matter what else he does for the rest of his term for simply doing one thing for me. Although there are many things we all want this President to do for us, it is my hope that yours and my desire to be have BUSH2 thrown in jail can be set aside so we don't lose my only other want from Obama. Health insurance. I watched as our government went on a witch hunt to oust a President for lying and basically stopped everything else and I'd hate for a replay.
I too want all the things you do but at some point we all gotta give up some personal thing for the good of all.
Obama has my vote no matter what and I hope he has yours too.