The first time I ever voted was in 2004. I had just turned 18 a few weeks before election day, and I was at least as excited to get a hall pass to go to the gym during my free period as I was to cast my ballot. (Welcome to Small Town America! All public elections and blood drives take place in the high school gymnasium.)
I skimmed through most of the ballot. Dafuq did I care who was town treasurer? Old Mr. Farwell had held that post for centuries. SKIP. And town selectmen? Why couldn’t we just have a fucking mayor like everyone else? SKIP. State Senator? SKIP. Representative? SKIP. SKIPPITY. SKIP.
I hopped right down to the main event: George W. Bush vs. John Kerry for President of the United States. I filled in the little bubble next to Kerry’s name.
We all know what happened next. And it’s why you’ll never take the tour of the Kerry Presidential Library in Aurora, Colorado.
I was pretty disgusted. It’s not that I was excited about voting another gray-faced old Lego man wearing a mop wig into office. But I wanted to win! I wanted to feel like my vote mattered. Instead I felt like I’d wasted my free period when I could’ve been bullying my future husband out of his lunch money to buy orange creamsicles from the vending machine.*
Needless to say, Old Mr. Farwell stayed town treasurer. And I completely missed the lesson to be learned from my first election.
Read on, and you won’t make the same mistake.