I was a fresh-faced college freshman the first time I voted in a presidential election. I wore my “George Bush is my Homeboy” shirt as I went door to door, hanging Bush-Cheney 04 bags on the door knobs. That year I votes straight-line Republican on my absentee ballot.
Four years later, I filled out another absentee ballot. At twenty-two, I was no longer a staunch conservative Republican. Those four years of college opened my eyes a bit. I voted based on the candidate, not their political affiliation. I did vote for McCain over Obama, though I had little enthusiasm for either candidate.
Another four years have passed. I’ve been out of college for a few years, worked in a large office, and am now self-employed. I’m more aware than ever of how much I pay in taxes (that happens when you have to sit down and write out a check to the IRS every three months). I just obtained my own health insurance plan, and I’m acutely aware of the gender bias in that area. (For the record, I’m paying about $50 more a month than a man does for the same level of coverage – and that does not cover any sort of maternity plan, so that isn’t the reason for the disparity.)
But more than that, at twenty-six I’ve seen a bit more of life. Things aren’t as black and white as they once were. It’s easy to be against gay marriage when you don’t personally know anyone who is unable to marry the one they love because the government doesn’t allow it. It’s easy to support anti-abortion laws when you don’t look at the fine print and realize it could be taking away a woman’s right to a D&C when she loses her baby due to a miscarriage, or taking away a woman’s ability to seek infertility treatment. (Not that I necessarily support abortion, mind you. I just cannot support the crazy legislation that has been brought forward to stop it.)
Today will be the first time I ever go into a polling station and vote in person for a president. And to be perfectly honest, I’m still not 100% sure who I’m voting for. I don’t think either candidate is evil. I don’t think either candidate has been specifically chosen by God for this position. I think these are two imperfect men who, if elected or re-elected, will do what they think is best for this country - though I may not always agree.
I know some people think I’m crazy to still be undecided today. And I know that really, my vote here in Oklahoma isn’t going to matter either way. Romney will win this state by a landslide.
But it matters to me. Maybe that’s why I’m still undecided. Because this really is an important decision.
So I’m going to spend a little more time this morning thinking and praying. I’m going to do more research on the state questions and local candidates. And eventually I’m going to make the short drive to my designated polling station and cast my vote.