After dropping the kids off at school, I went to my polling place and voted. When I arrived, there were about 200 people standing in a line that wrapped around the building and ended about 100 feet from the entrance. I know it was 100 feet because there were people handing out campaign materials near the end of the line. I intended to confront them about it, because it is usually illegal to campaign at the polling place, but just as I was about to say something one of the campaigners warned another one to stay behind a certain point. The police had told them they could legally go no further than 100 feet from the building.
The mood of the voters was quiet and introspective. Very few conversations were taking place. People seemed generally patient, not complaining about the wait. Very serious.
Up until this morning I wasn't sure who I was going to vote for in the presidential election. I had gone back and forth numerous times on Obama and McCain, both of whom have positions I love and hate, both of whom somewhat annoy me. Even as I stood in my little red, white and blue voting booth made of plastic dividers, I hesitated before marking my ballot. I voted for everything else on the ballot and saved the presidential vote for one last consideration.
After taking a deep breath, and hoping I wouldn't eventually regret my decision, I voted for Barak Obama.
It was a difficult choice for me, most importantly, because I am pro-life. I don't like Obama's position on abortion. I don't agree with it. I would love to have a more pro-life candidate win.
John McCain is definitely more pro-life than Obama, so I could have voted for him on that issue.
Why didn't I?
McCain lost my vote for a few reasons. He lost my vote by trying to make Bush's tax cuts permanent. He lost my vote by resorting to extremely negative attacks on Obama, rather than telling me what exactly he's going to do for America. He lost my vote because I refuse to choose him out of fear of a terrorist attack. Fear-mongering is not a tool by which I wish to be motivated.
Ultimately, tossing aside my fears was the only way I could stomach voting for Obama. I had to censor out the hype about how absolutely disastrous it would be if one candidate won over the other. That tactic is tired and played out. Could bad things happen to the US because of whom we elect? Yes, but that cuts both ways. I can just as easily see McCain getting us into an unneeded war with Iran as I can see Obama being perceived as weak by terrorists. Which is worse for the US?
So, in the end, I cast my first vote for a Democratic president. I have occasionally voted Democrat in local elections, but usually go Republican.
Here's hoping I won't regret the next four years if Obama wins.
On the upside...if Obama is truly awful as a president, maybe we'll get some great Republicans running in 2012.