The news is too personal for me to find you interesting tidbits and factoids to mull over. So instead, I give you why.
I turned 18 in 2005, literally days before Bush’s second inauguration. In 2006, I was in Germany as a newly-married soldier’s wife with no voter’s registration; after all, I’d moved so much as a child that I didn’t know how to go about becoming a resident of any state. In 2008, I had just moved to Texas and was working on my divorce; I didn’t know how to register to vote or who to talk to. In 2010, I was scraping by on just above minimum wage and had no time for news or politics.
In 2012, my life had become truly stable. I had just turned 25, my full-time job (with benefits) was paying me well, and my life overall was comfortable enough for me to look outside of my own personal issues and see the world at large. Boy, was I disappointed!
The world is lumpy and bumpy, full of problems too big for me to wrap my head around (let alone my heart). When I realized that I wouldn’t be leaving Texas (ever, it seems like), I made the decision that I would no resign myself to the fate of a liberal surrounded by conservatives; after all, I knew enough people like myself that I was sure we could make a change.
We had a mini-event here in my part of central Texas. We got our friends riled up enough to register to vote, people who hadn’t voted in their 40-odd years of life so far. We drove in groups to our local voting locations for early voting, and some of us drove others to the booths on Election Day. We made a show of it, shouting out our political right to be heard.
When I looked at my ballot, I was very displeased. Out of two dozen positions open to vote, only half a dozen or so had more than one candidate (i.e. someone other than a Republican running for office). With no write-in voting, I had the choice of voting Republican or not voting. Somehow, that didn’t seem like the democracy I’d learned about in school.
Since the election, I’ve paid much closer attention to the news and politics. I’ve boo’ed at Ted Cruz and his conspiracy theories while cheering on the likes of Wendy Davis and Elizabeth Warren. I’ve also joined groups like Battleground Texas, contacted my local representatives to express my views on their actions, and done my best to keep my friends informed.
The 2014 elections on Texas open on my birthday, February 18th. I’m looking forward to booting Rick Perry out of office, and I’m researching what other offices and positions I can hope to refill. Having grown up military, I wasn’t exposed to state government and how it works until college! I’m still learning exactly who has what authority here in Texas.
I’m actually really frustrated with my parents sometimes. My parents didn’t generally bother to vote; I think I remember my dad saying he voted once or twice while I was growing up. That said, my parents didn’t talk politics in the home either. It’s not that we couldn’t talk about it… we just didn’t. My political self didn’t form from family traditions, but from the collection of thoughts, facts, and feelings over time. I discovered my dad was a conservative in high school, as I realized in a heart-to-heart talk that he would ALWAYS vote for the man guaranteed to pay him more (and that would always be a Republican). Then again, my dad hates “faggots” and finds liberals stupid and idealistic; he’ll never support a party based on socially liberal issues.
I wrote this blog post in response to an article I saw on the Huffington Post. I can’t find the link again, but suffice it to say I was insulted. This random man from out of state claimed Texans (and Texas women specifically) got what they deserved for voting in their elected officials in the first place. I’m a Texan; I’ve given in and accepted that. However, I don’t have to accept the arrogant assumption of someone who has no clue what it’s like to live here, to have a joke for a governor, to be Pagan in a state so sure of its Christian image.
Our cries for justice will trigger change. Finally, the Democrats see Texas as a plausible target. Let’s shake things up! My next ballot better have Democratic candidates for EVERY office!