Since it’s Election Day today, I thought it was a good time to connect with some election memories. I was raised in a family that had (and has) a great interest in politics; in fact, some of my earliest memories revolve around sitting at the dinner table with political talk swirling around my six year old head. You’re thinking, “that explains everything, Talbot . . . “
Anyway, I have vivid memories of the 1968 Election between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. I even remember the bumper stickers. I thought there was nothing cooler that the HHH stickers on the backs of cars in 1968. My parents were great fans of Humphrey and could not abide by Richard Nixon. So even though we lived in an overwhelmingly Republican section of Dallas, I remember agitating for Humphrey in my first grade class.
The next one I remember was 1972. It was at what seemed to my 11 year old mind to be the height of the Vietnam War, which parents ardently opposed.
But there’s a problem with that one: it says McGovern-Eagleton. He was George McGoverns’ first nominee for Vice President. If you have a first and a second nominee for VP, you’re in trouble. So was McGovern. It turned out that Tom Eagleton had had shock therapy treatment in his early years, and so he had to abandon the race. Sargeant Shriver took his place but the damage was more than done. I still remember shaking McGovern’s hand (I told you my family was into this!) and thinking that any sane person would vote for him.
I was wrong. He won Massachusetts and that’s it. Nixon in a landslide. My family mourned.
Ironically, as I got older, the elections stopped being the center of my world. Maybe that just means my world got more rounded. Through the years I voted against Reagan and then for Reagan (who didn’t in 1984?), wasted a vote on Ross Perot, and voted with resignation for Bob Dole and Jack Kemp.
I’m not in the place where I was raised, but then I’m not in the same place I was 10-12 years ago either, when I’d gladly pull a straight Republican ticket.
So for the last few elections, including today? I guess that’s why the voting booth is private . . .