Memory of the Day: Politics

Well, the deed is done. I have done my early voting. I was 21 when I first voted in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana, that was in 1967. Four years later they would lower the voting age to 18 with the 26th Amendment to the Constitution. In 1967 I registered as a Democrat largely because in Louisiana at that time I needed to be a Democrat to make sure Mr. V. J. Scott got re-elected as Clerk of Court and my mother would continue to be his Chief Deputy Clerk. You see, Louisiana was largely Long Democratic (Huey and Earl) in those days and if you didn’t vote in the primary there was no reason to vote in the general election. Everybody in my family was Democrat. I remember my Granddaddy saying he “Pulled the Chicken.” See, in those days the Democratic Party in Louisiana was represented by a rooster and at the top of the Democratic slate of candidates was a rooster. If you hit that switch in the automatic polling machine it was voting a straight Democratic ticket.
I voted Democrat in all local races. There was really never any question about that. However, in my first presidential race in 1968, I voted for the Republican candidate, Richard Nixon, over the Democrat, Hubert Humphrey. Nixon won, though I am sure he would have without my vote so I’m not bragging. By the time of the next presidential race in 1972 I was voting absentee from the Republic of Vietnam. I believed that President Nixon and, particularly, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, were doing all the right things to get us out of that quagmire so he got my vote in the primaries then as well. By the time of the Watergate scandal, I was back in the States stationed at Fort Riley, KS. I was still a Louisiana resident and still voted absentee from Kansas. Again, my local votes went straight Democratic ticket, but I voted for President Nixon again. I gave him and Kissinger credit for getting me out of Vietnam early. Well, in the end that didn’t work out too well for anyone. Nixon’s VP, Spiro Agnew, resigned over charges of extortion, bribery and corruption when he held office in Maryland. He was replaced by then Speaker of the House Gerald Ford, who became the only unelected President of the United States (I am considering an elected VP to be elected) to ever hold the office. Bottom line is that Nixon resigned under the Watergate cloud and Gerald Ford finished out his term. I voted for Gerald Ford for President in 1976 over the Democratic candidate, Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter. The Democrats won that one. My voting record in Louisiana continued down the Democratic path until the 1980 Louisiana Governor’s race when I voted for Dave Treen. By then, my little brother, Wayne Grant, was working for the State of Louisiana and convinced me that Treen would be the better choice and the chance for Louisiana to have a Republican Governor for the first time since Reconstruction. Treen won and after a while Wayne became his Assistant Commissioner for Finance and Budget, but that’s another story for another time.
After I retired from the Army in 1990, I had to change my official residence to Virginia and later to Alabama. Neither state had a requirement to register to vote by party so I was an independent. I was a bit of an eclectic voter. I never “pulled the chicken.” I voted for people I thought would best do the job. Sometimes I was right and sometimes I was not. I have pretty consistently voted Republican for president since Reagan, but that was not because they were Republican or Conservative. I felt they were the man for the job. Sometimes I was right and sometimes I was wrong. I didn’t vote for Bill Clinton either time he ran, but I have to admit he did have a handle on the economy. I voted for both Bushes , but did not agree with everything either of them did.
I would have voted for Colin Powell anytime and anywhere for president. Unfortunately Alma wouldn’t let him run. I did not vote for President Obama either time he ran, but unlike some of my friends, I don’t think he has been a bad president. I think he has handled an uncertain world pretty well, all things considered. I certainly believe he did what he did through sincere belief he was doing what was right even if I didn’t agree.
That brings me to today. I am not going to tell anyone how I voted today, at least for a while. I am disappointed in all of the candidates on the slate from president down through state legislators, but I have voted in every election since I was 21 and often from pretty remote parts of the planet. Not voting was never a consideration for me. So, once again, I am voting against rather than for anyone. Regardless of who becomes the next POTUS, challenging times are coming, but I am convinced that the framers of our Constitution got it right and we will survive this next crop of pretenders.
I’ve seen lots of posts on FB and in e-mails as well as lots of junk on TV related to the election. For the most part, I think we have placed the blame on the wrong parties. It is not Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton we have to blame for where we find ourselves. It is not term limits for Congress that will solve our problems. We must look to ourselves the citizens of the United States. We can impose term limits on Congress by voting them out. We don’t need a Constitutional Amendment to do that. We can put better candidates up for election than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. The problem is US!
We all have an obligation to not wait until 2020 to start learning about who should be our next president. We need to learn who is capable and work to push those candidates with integrity to run for office then get out and vote for them. Stop whining about the politicians and lets get better ones to run. Out of a population of over 330 Million, we can surely find 545 people to run this country who are honest and courageous enough to do what is right.

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