I voted for Barack Obama. Mike is all for Hillary Clinton. The old joke about canceling out one another's votes could be applied to our household, but I don't want to view it that way. My Obama vote will be added to what I hope will be the majority of Oregon's primary voters, and Mike's Clinton vote will make its case for her candidacy.
It may be that Mike and I are a microcosm of Oregon's voting scene, as well as of the country's pending choice. It excites me to be on the brink of what is to come. Having this amazing choice between the first woman and the first black to run for U.S. President makes me so proud of the Democratic party, my life-long political affiliation. It shouldn't be this exhausting, then, to live in my house these days. Mike wonders how I, as a woman, am not supporting Clinton. On other levels, his early years as a registered Republican and having been raised by a racist step-father (who recently retired from the ministry, a whole other issue I'd like to blog about!) make Mike's support of Clinton not only emotional, but at times rabid.
As an interesting aside indicator of what has made each of us tick for decades: in college I took an elective course titled Black American Literature, where one of Mike's elective college courses was titled Womens' Studies. My course broadened my reading. Mike's was a catalyst for his seeing the role of women in society apart from the church's training.
We do respect the other's right to support our own candidate. But Mike enjoys debate, and sometimes what he calls debate seems to me more an invitation to an argument. I need to use these moments as an opportunity to practice defending my view rationally instead of retreating from a heated discussion. Heaven knows, these discussions will only grow in number and intensity before the November election - both in this household and in the nation. Last night I wound up screaming; it was the only way to get his attention and stop his tirade. When I yelled, Get over it! I love the guy and I'm voting for him for President! he paused long enough to actually smile. I prepared Abby and Bonbon for a walk as Mike grabbed his guitar (it soothes him to play). I said, Why don't you play some songs from the Old South? as I left with the dogs. I meant it: come to grips with the totality of this country's patchwork and bless it. When I returned home he had picked out "Dixie" and was playing it beautifully. It gave me an opportunity to share with him that when my fourth grade class learned that song, and each time we sang it in "Music Hour," I cried at my school desk. Why? asked Mike, truly interested. That's what my teacher asked me after class one day. In kid's words I explained to her that the song was beautiful and it made me very sad.
In preparation for the days and months ahead my intentions are to build my yoga practice, get more regular sleep than I've been getting, attempt to be a better listener, breathe deeply, cuddle kitties, read the special books I've purchased recently at Border's, and be more understanding of Mike's fusion of his past belief system with his enormous growth, both politically and personally.