I Voted X

Along with telling me early on that her attitude toward minorities was incorrect, one of the other (few) appropriate lessons my mother taught me was the importance of voting. It was 1980 or 1982 when she took me to our local polling station (which also happened to be my pre-school). I got to watch while she voted and the old people gave me a sticker that said "I Voted" with a big red X in a box.

Now, my mother was a hardcore conservative (she will always vote for the candidate with the most reactionary position on abortion even if he would bring about armageddon). All our neighbors were like-minded Catholics. And all of this was during the height of Reagan's popularity (the man won 49 states in an election after all). Thus, everyone voted the same way.

So for the longest time--the longest time (I will not admit to just how long because it's that embarrassing)--I thought they had other stickers that said "I Voted" with a big red O in a box. LIke tic-tac-toe1. I thought the stickers read "I Voted X," as in, the X represented which party you voted for (heaven forbid there be a third-party option in America). Thus, when I began to shed my conservative upbringing and privately harbored liberal ideas, I wondered how liberal candidates could ever hope to win. Everyone in America voted for conservatives. I could tell because they all wore "I Voted X" stickers.

In my defense, I watched my mother vote and she did not mark an X. She filled in a bubble. So clearly a big red X in a box had nothing to do with voting other than to delineate your affiliation. Now they've changed the stickers to a check mark, but we don't make those either. Come on people! Pay attention! Don't you vote? If you don't vote, what are you doing making stickers for people that vote? That should be a requirement.

This year, my polling place did not offer stickers. They saved a little money by not having stickers. Instead they had a bake sale. I think this is awesome2

1 I always wanted to get voters together with the "I Voted X" and "I Voted O" stickers and have a human tic-tac-toe game.

2 And it doesn't matter. This is New Hampshire. We all vote. Then we go to a diner and talk about voting. It's what we do. We love us some politics. Be thankful we're the first state in the nation to vote in primaries. We know how to do it.