Last night was cold, but this morning the sun has made an appearance making me think Mother Nature is feeling apologetic for the last few days and for the storm expected tomorrow. When I woke up, earlier than usual, the house was cold. The furnace, programmed for leisurely mornings, for sleeping-in mornings, hadn’t yet warmed the house. I put on my slippers and my sweatshirt and we all, the dog, cats and I, went downstairs, and I right away turn up the heat and put on the coffee. When I went outside to get the papers, the air felt brisk.
Voter turnout is always greater on a sunny day.
The first election which caught my attention was in 1960 when John F. Kennedy ran for president. He was a local boy, the senator from Massachusetts, so he was my candidate. I watched the debate. I remember how bad Nixon looked. I remember only one issue from that debate: the islands of Quemoy and Matsu. I think their names have a neat sound so they stuck in my brain all this time as did the drawn maps of their positions relative to China. I remember the wooden pointers both men used. Kennedy and Nixon, of course, disagreed as to their importance. I have no idea about those islands now.
I was proud to wear my Kennedy buttons and still have the three of them. One is of a smiling Kennedy with his name across the top, another just says Kennedy for President. My favorite is a huge white button which says, “If I were twenty-one, I’d vote for Kennedy.”
I remember, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” which was Barry Goldwater’s catch phrase. I thought its portent was scary. His bumper sticker, though, is still a favorite of mine: AuH20=1964. I wonder how many people were flummoxed by what they thought was math.
It seemed to take forever until I was old enough to vote, but, finally, the summer before my senior year in college I turned twenty-one. I voted for the first time in 1968. My choice was ever so easy. Never could I vote for Richard Nixon. Besides, I really did believe Hubert Humphrey would have made a good President.