Posted by: Kate | January 8, 2008

Discussing Politics

Long ago, in a land far, far away, I was a college student with an affection for euphemisms. “Planned hypersomnia” meant I’d be skipping class tomorrow. “Taking the cat to the vet” implied a quick drive over the nearby Canadian border to purchase alcohol that was illegal to my 19-year-old self in New York. And “discussing politics” was the favorite term for any form of nonverbal, publicly inappropriate dalliances with my significant other.

There was a certain irony, then, to the fact that, Monday night, on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, my husband and I headed into the bedroom early for a very specific purpose. We turned the lights down low, slipped into something a little more comfortable (brand-new bedding, oh my sweet comfort), and actually, literally, discussed politics.

Specifically, he’d printed out several pages from the Washington Post outlining each candidate’s responses to a set of standardized questions. I’m not a registered Democrat and have been known to fill in the little oval next to the (R) names a time or three, but frankly I’m a bit done with aging, vicariously violent, simplistic white men from the Republican party and am ready for leadership that differs in at least two or three of those adjectives. So I wanted to learn a little more about my choices, since after the debates I knew that each of the candidates could pronounce the words “change,” “leadership” and “experience,” over and over and over again, but I didn’t have a clear sense of just how they differed.

Turns out, they really don’t. Differ, that is. Not the ones I was most interested in, not in the areas most important to me. Even, truth be told, amongst the Republican front-runners; aside from a personal gag-reflex response to the android smarm of Mitt Romney and a sense of alarm about Mike Huckabee’s laissez faire attitudes about the criminal actions of his friends and loved ones, the attitudes and statements of the front-runners don’t scare me too much. Which is nice, because I really didn’t want to actually have to pack up and move to Canada next year. It’s good to know that I can live with whoever the Electoral College pretends to let us choose for President.

This has taken a lot of the angst and tension out of the process as the poll results are tabulated and posted. We’re up to 68% of New Hampshire wards reporting their results, with Clinton and McCain in comfortable and consistent leads over their fellow partygoers. I know that any number of campaign workers will be disappointed, as their champions slide back in the polls, and I sympathize from the comfortable standpoint of not-caring-that-much.

I was surprised at the minimum of fuss and security involved in the actual voting process. After all, my polling station is approximately 1/4 mile from the site of the infamous Road Flares Incident in Hillary Clinton’s office, and I expected at least some heightened police presence in the parking lot. Not so. The whole process, from signing in to briefly registering as a Democrat to voting to re-declaring my Undeclared status took precisely eleven minutes, and would have taken even less time if my husband had filled out his little back-to-Undeclared card properly the first time.

No fuss and bother in the process, no fuss and bother in the outcomes… quite anticlimactic, all around. Happily, not all political discussions in my house are quite so mundane.

Also posted on New England Mamas.


  1. Surely packing up and moving to certain parts of Canada wouldn’t be so bad, eh?

  2. Annie, I was just telling my mother yesterday that if I DID have to pack up and move to Canada, at least I would have a place to stay while we found a house and jobs…

    And I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen the proper Canadian “eh?” spelled out.

  3. If you move to Canada, I wanna come….

    On the other hand, I am insanely jealous that you get to register to vote for a certain primary on the day of the primary, and then can change right back to undecided the same day. For some reason these people in the south think we should all have our minds made up (and republican) from the day we are born. I guess since I tend to look at the people I am considering voting for as a person and not a party ticket I am in the minority down here south of the mason dixon line, or whatever. 😉

  4. I spent the better part of the morning trying to figure out if choosing a party now will allow me to vote in the NY primary next month. I, too, am undeclared, but I think NY is one of those states that want you to be decided a year in advance of an election (or so I think based on the little information I could find via google).

    I’m just happy to see other people in our age group participate in the process, even if it is flawed.

  5. There’s an election going on?

  6. […] reading the profiles, Kate, in a post over at One More Thing, commented that the candidates don’t differ much, and she’s right. They don’t. […]

  7. […] vote for Hillary Clinton.  I thought it would be good for the country to have a woman in change, all other things being equal, so I filled in the little oval next to her name.  But you know what?  Six month […]

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