(Following is my column, which appeared in the Tues., Nov. 6th edition of the Devils Lake Journal http://www.devilslakejournal.com/ where I am a reporter/writer. For more info about my hometown of Devils Lake, North Dakota, visit http://www.devilslakend.com)
As you read this column, it will be election day and our country will be electing a new president along with other elected officials.
I am not a very political person. I am not affiliated with either political party, so I guess I am an independent. I spent eight years living and working in the Washington, D.C., area., and quite frankly that experience made me a little disillusioned about politics and government. Five of those years were spent working just a few blocks from the White House for an association as its communications director. Although the association wasn’t allowed to lobby since it received federal funding, it was involved with other associations that did lobby. Consequently, I did attend some Capitol Hill congressional events, where the main activity seemed to be schmoozing.
I worked in D.C. during the Clinton years, and was there for the Monica Lewinsky scandal. I still remember walking around D.C., and seeing the hoards of paparazzi outside the hotels where Monica was staying. I worked with a staunch Republican who was miserable during the Clinton era. We had several office social gatherings at his house, and he had newspaper clippings of Clinton on his fridge with lewd comments written on them. He assumed since I wasn’t a Republican like him, I must be a Democrat, which irritated the heck out of me (not that I have anything against Democrats or people from either party!) People like my co-worker are one of the reasons I don’t much like talking about politics. It’s been my experience that like my former co-worker, some staunch supporters of either party don’t really want to have a discussion about politics, they want to have an argument. And they want to tell you exactly why your political thoughts and beliefs are dead wrong and persuade you to support theirs.
It’s been interesting to be here in a small town like Devils Lake during an election year, especially working for a newspaper. I covered two political candidate meet and greets for the paper – one from each party. I enjoyed being able to meet the candidates and talk directly with them, something that never happened during my Big City days.
Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, independent or otherwise affiliated it’s important to get out and vote, even if you’re not precisely sure who you’d like to see as the next president! It’s a privilege to vote and privilege that not all folks on this planet are afforded. Perhaps you’ve already voted by mail. If not, maybe I’ll see you at the polls!