Yesterday, primary elections were held in my state and I was determined to squeeze voting in between lunch and heading to piano practice. I enjoy my right to vote and no matter how big or small the election, I exercise my right. About 9 years ago, I changed my party affiliation to Independent. This was after I had left my job on Capitol Hill. You see, when you are in the belly of the beast, you see that more often than not, they are all the same. A horse of a different color is still a horse!
I’ll admit it, I was naive. I enjoyed my political science classes and knew that I wanted to do something in the political/public policy arena since I was about 14. So, I earned my Bachelor’s and then went forward to earn a Master’s in Public Administration. For my externships, I worked on the city and state level and after graduation, I happily headed off to a job in local government – yes, I was making change happen. Or was I? I stayed there long enough to feel that I that I needed to move to the next level and off to DC I went to serve as a Senior Legislative Assistant and then Legislative Director. Yes, the titles alone imply that I was making things happen, don’t they?
Seeing and being a part of the process were not all that I thought they were and I was quickly disabused of my idealistic notions. I left disenchanted, disheartened and disgusted. But you see, when that is what you know and how your bread is buttered, I couldn’t just go off and do something else, so I went to a non-profit where I thought my skills would help them secure funds to make things happen. There’s a lot of competition for funds and while we did get some and they did do some good, I am sure that more would have done more good.
I share all of that because those experiences are what led me to change my party affiliation. Yesterday, that came to bite me in the rear. Our primary was not an open primary, so I was only able to vote for a school board member. So much for being independent! I am now stuck with the choices that other voters (informed and uninformed) chose during the primary as we head into the general election. I was pleased with some of them but there were others that I couldn’t disagree with more. I only have myself to blame though because even though I pride myself on exercising my right to vote, if I am not aligned with a major party, my choices are and were limited. So, now I must choose a party….I really don’t want to but I must as my days as a registered independent are over.