Forty-Eight Years Ago

On November 1, 1960 64% of the Nation’s Electorate went to cast their vote for President of the United States.  John Kennedy carried the State of Connecticut 53.7% to Richard Nixon’s 46.3%.  Kennedy did not have the same success in Mrs. Bear’s Sixth Grade Class at Hamden Hall Country Day School.

In that class students lined up for the Candidates of their choice flanking each side of the room.  If memory serves, we were responsible for telling the class… briefly… why we supported Kennedy or Nixon.

Let the record show that I stood in the line by the windows and voted for the team of Nixon and Lodge along with Chuck Clark, Gary Moss and Duncan Moffitt among others.  Nixon carried the Sixth Grade, although Kennedy prevailed in the School.

Let the record also show, that this was my first Election, and it would be the only time that I ever voted for Richard Nixon.  In 1968 and 1972 I voted against him (in fact, I am disappointed that I didn’t have the  chance not to vote for him when he ran for Governor of California).

My reasons for supporting Nixon was that, at age 10, I thought that Nixon’s experience was vastly superior to Kennedy’s.  I also thought that Henry Cabot Lodge had great experience, and an impressive sounding name.  An impressive name?  I guess that is the political equivalent of selecting a horse by the colour of the jockey silks.  Hey, I was 10.

My parents voted for Kennedy.  They were Democrats; but I don’t think they tried to influence my choice.  Nor, at that time, was I aware that our store, Chipp, made clothing for Senator John Kennedy.  Had I known that detail, I might have moved to the other side of the classroom and thrown my support his way.  After all, customer loyalty has to make-up ground on experience.

It’s forty years later, and we are on the eve of another presidential election.  Maybe the most important of my lifetime.  And for the first time in memory I will be voting for someone who I actually like, instead of voting for the lesser of two evils.  But even if I didn’t like a candidate, even if I had to select the lesser of two evils, I would still be voting.  As a citizen, I think it is one of the most important things we do.  We become involved in the process.  We don’t have to make speeches.  We don’t have to write letters to the editor.  We don’t have to attend political rallies.  We don’t have to go to Party pancake breakfasts.  We don’t have join a political party.  We just have to register to vote.  And then vote.

Yes, it’s just one vote.  A vote among millions.  A vote that gets buried in the quagmire of the Electoral College.  But the vote is so important… because it shows that you care.  That’s what makes it so important… you are telling yourself that “I care.”

You can wear your flag pins, put a “support the troops” ribbon magnet on your car; but it means absolutely nothing if you don’t vote.  There is nothing wrong with displaying your patriotism; but to do so without supporting your beliefs in the polling place, then “flying the flag” becomes a vacant and hypocritical form of patriotism.

Please get out there and vote.  It’s important.

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