Published in the Rains County Leader on March 1, 2016:
When I was growing up, I was taught that it isn’t polite to tell people how much you make, how much you paid for something, or who you voted for. Those rules have long since gone the way of a lot of the other customs and traditions of the pre-Sixties world. The one about sharing your candidate preferences is particularly outdated now. In fact, in the past weeks and months, the subject has dominated most polite, and lots of impolite, conversations. One of my favorite people to discuss politics with is my son, Christian Piatt.
Christian has always been an independent thinker about lots of things – fashion, religion, and especially politics. In 1976 when he was five, I took him with me to vote. I thought it would be good for him to be exposed to the process, even if he didn’t understand what was going on. It wasn’t the first time, and definitely not the last, that I underestimated him. He thought he was going to participate. Even though his dad and I were usually Republicans and always conservative, he announced to everyone in line that he was voting for Carter. Probably against all voting regulations, the poll watchers let me take him into the old-fashioned mechanical voting booth with me. After I made my selections, I let him pull the lever that registered my votes and opened the curtain. It wasn’t until years later that he realized I had disenfranchised him that day and that he didn’t vote for Jimmy.
To this day we are still on opposites ends of the political spectrum, but we are both open-minded an easy-going enough to enjoy discussing the options. We live two time zones apart, and our schedules don’t mesh very well, so most of our conversations are by text. Here are a couple of excerpts from two of our most interesting exchanges of the last few weeks:
Regarding the possibility of Bloomberg throwing his hat in the ring as an independent at the last minute:
- Christian: He’s anti NRA which would be hard for 2nd amendment fanatics to handle…
- Me: Yeah, anti NRA wouldn’t go over in the south. Down here the candidates put their gun status on their flyers, i.e., licensed to carry or concealed permit.
He thought that was weird – a strange assessment coming from a man who lives in a city with the slogan, “Keep Portland Weird.” We ended that discussion by agreeing that the best weapon to carry is the Sword of the Spirit, as the Apostle Paul called the Scriptures.
Sunday afternoon Christian sent me some political satire that opened a conversation about, among other things, superdelegates – those unelected delegates who are free to support any candidate for the presidential nomination at the Democratic Convention. This was my final response: Yeah, I don’t know why we can’t go with a straight popular vote – although considering the number of people who have asked for my advice on who to vote for, I’m not sure that’s a good idea either. Maybe rock, paper, scissors!
Regardless of the imperfections of both our electoral systems and the candidates, I consider it my duty to vote. I also consider it my right to complain, but only if I vote. Hopefully, all my readers participated in the Primary. If you missed it, be sure and study up on the choices and vote in the General Election in November. I promise not to ask who you voted for, but we can all get together and complain about the results!