My First Time


Dear Mr. Obama,

Please be gentle with me. It’s my first time. Yes, it’s sad but true. I am forty-one years old, and I have never voted. I know I should be embarrassed and ashamed, and I am. It’s just that I’ve never felt this way before. It’s a sorry excuse, but with other elections, I honestly felt my vote did not matter. Especially since I’m mostly a Democrat and I’ve lived in two “blue” states, so those electoral votes were pretty much locked up without little ole’ me anyway.

I had long ago lost faith in the political process. Even those politicians with the best of intentions somehow lose their way. And who can blame them, really? By the time anyone is elected to an important office, too many favors are owed, and the last traces of idealism and decency are typically beaten down by back door deals and ongoing battles of the Washington egos.

There were politicians who I would start to think I could support and get excited about, but they would eventually let me down and just reinforce my disillusion. I was really convinced that it didn’t matter who was in office; things would pretty much stay the same. (Well, of course, President Bush was kind enough to show me how wrong I was on that one!)

So my own political world stayed confined to moderating middle school student council and watching seven seasons of West Wing. (Hey, you’ve got to admit it was a better education in the workings of our government than any history class lesson — Thank you, Mr. Sorkin. ) And since Jed Bartlet or Matt Santos wasn’t going to appear on my my ballot any time soon, I chose to stay on my sofa, wrapped up in my down throw and my laziness and apathy.

But then you came along, Mr. Obama. You and your fancy speeches and your history making nomination and your democratic ideals and your oh so impressive combination of intellect and common decency. You gave me hope. You made me believe that maybe, just maybe, things could change. You have inspired so many people, Mr. Obama. That many people can’t be wrong, can they?

For you, Mr. Obama, I voted today. And if tomorrow you find yourself president (and all signs are pointing that way), I BEG you…please, please don’t break my heart. Please bring us the change you promise — the change we are all so hungry for. You had my very first vote, Mr. Obama. Please tell me it meant something.


P.S. I am enclosing a photo of me and my daughter on this historic day. I would be ever so grateful if you would autograph it for me. I can’t guarantee my husband won’t Photoshop you in afterwards, but we promise not to sell it to a tabloid or auction it off on eBay.

Categories : journeys in life

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