During the 1992 election our middle school held a mock election of Bill Clinton and George Bush. Before we voted we were handed a sheet of each candidates’ policies and platforms. I remember reading over Clinton’s policies and agreeing with the majority of things he supported. I mean, at 12 how could I disagree with giving money to the poor and healthcare for everyone in need? How was I supposed to know that these things would raise my parents’ taxes?
Anyway, without a second thought I voted for Clinton and handed in my mock ballot. That night my sister and I told our parents about the mock election and how we learned about the candidates. My mom, who is very political, asked nonchalantly who we ended up voting for. My sister declared that she voted for Bush and was instantly met with congratulations from my parents. Then the table turned to me and I quietly muttered, “I voted for the other guy.” Unlike my sister, my response wasn’t met with a big pat on the back. Instead, my mom began a diatribe, I have heard many times since, about the wild Democratic Party and their policies.
It wasn’t that this experience pressured me to become a Republican in order to seek the approval of my mom. Instead, it taught me that each time I cast a vote I really need to see the whole picture. It’s easy to get caught up in campaign promises and over-hyped candidates, but it’s another thing to really decide what you will support and what you will fight for. Every time I have voted since I have thought about that mock election almost 17 years ago and remind myself to make my vote count.