Monday, November 03, 2008

Voting for President: Part One

So, tomorrow is Election Day but I've already voted, thanks to my permanent absentee voter status. It's a great option here in California. My absentee ballot was in the mail last week, and I presume it's waiting to be opened tomorrow.

This will be the fifth time I've voted for president (fifth election, not fifth time this year -- I don't subscribe to the "vote early, vote often" mantra of Chicago politics). I've never been particular proud of any of my choices. In 1992, I voted for Ross Perot as a protest vote. I didn't believe George H.W. Bush deserved a second term, but I didn't like what Bill Clinton offered. Four years later, I voted for Bob Dole because I couldn't bring myself to vote for another Clinton term.

In 2000 and 2004, I struggled with my choices. I was never a fan of Al Gore, but I considered voting for him. Because I was going to be in Greece at the time of the election, I had to vote early (in September), and I ended up going for George W. Bush. Looking back, I'm not sure I would have voted the same way. I went through the same struggle four years later, and ended up casting a reluctant vote for Bush again, because John Kerry just seemed, well, just seemed like a bad alternative to a bad president.

I've never been excited to vote for a president. I've never encountered a candidate who stirred me up to believe that we could make things different and better for our nation. I've never been given the option of voting for someone who can truly be a "great" president.

And here in 2008? I don't have that option either.