Today, I will walk into an Elementary School and color in some circles in an attempt to actively participate in a right that has been hard to come by for some, if not all of us. This year is different though. This year I will be voting, not for who I think is best, or who I feel will lead better, but instead, I will be setting aside my fishing pole and pick up my wife's, casting it into the deep muddy waters of the political ocean.
Why people vote the way they do is as varied as the different species of fish. Some don't vote at all. The first time I voted, was for Clinton. He went on the tonight show and played a sax. He was hip. I was young. I didn't vote for him a second time.
I went from a bleeding heart liberal to, what some might classify, as a hard core conservative. When I met my wife, I didn't ask about her politics. In fact, when I met her, we didn't even speak the same language. She referred to me as "Guapo", which I obviously understood to mean she thought I looked like the guy from The Three Amigos movie, "El Guapo". Turns out that's not what that meant.
Why am I bringing this up? Why am I voting for who my wife likes? I'm getting to that. The first time we ever spoke about politics, it turned into an epic battle of words and misunderstandings. Imagine some of these threads here, only with real people and half of it in Spanish. (It was where I learned that Tonto wasn't an Indian sidekick to the Lone Ranger.)
We've learned since then how to navigate the political waters of our opinions carefully. We both think we're right most of the time. To be honest, she has been right a time or two.
Which brings me here. I wouldn't classify my wife as a bleeding heart liberal. She would be a liberal conservative, if I had to stick a tag on her. We agree on some things and heartily disagree about others. What I will tell you is, she is the strongest woman I've ever known. She came to this country alone in 95, leaving behind a child, a mother and a life of promised perpetual poverty. (Don't discuss poverty in America with her, she will tell you that no one in America is poor and then she will tell you why)
She walked across the border, by herself, into Nogales, Arizona and then made her way to New Mexico, because it was the Nuevo Mexico. She found a job, that by our standards paid little, but was more than she had ever seen before in her life. She paid taxes. She sent most of it home to her mother and daughter and still managed to fulfill her need for the latest fashions. Had a son, and never once did he ever want for anything.
She stayed within the Mexican community mostly, her comfort zone, and never took the time to learn English except more than a few words here and there. Until she met me. When she met me, she says, my blues eyes made her realize she needed to learn. (I have that effect on people) She did. In less than a year, we were having conversations in English. (I'm still learning Spanish and can barely follow a conversation in it)
Some of the Mexican men she works with gives her a hard time for marrying a gringo. She betrayed La Raza, they say. She smiles, her beautiful smile, and metaphorically gives them the bird. She's not one to take crap from anyone.
She has some strong views about the would-be-governors and how, whichever one gets into office today, will effect immigration. An issue that has caused her more stress than any other thing in her life. In a few years she will get the opportunity to apply for citizenship. When she does, she will use the right to vote with more vigor and passion than any one of us who was born here and has taken it for granted.
I disagree with how she thinks this election should go, but think she has earned the right to have her voice heard. Our political opinions may not always match up, but there is no opinion I value more, than my wife's.
So today, at the very least, her voice will be heard.
Mine will be heard in 2012. :)
Vote today. I dare you.