Everybody Gets “Landslided” From Time To Time

Amazing, Yetta thought, back home I couldn’t have chosen my own husband.  And here I’m thinking about choosing presidents, governors, mayors, laws…”  Margaret Peterson Haddix, Uprising

i-voted-sticker

I love Election Day in the United States!  Actually, I think we could give it a better name – “American Voter Day,”  “Chance for Change Day,” “Exercise Your Rights Day.”  Maybe we could use a modern hashtag name – “#electionselectionday.”  Whatever the name, we could make it so appealing to the American public, that no one would want to miss out on participating in the most glorious of all American privileges:  the right to vote.

I was thinking it would be good if the powers that be require each candidate on the ballot, nationally and locally, to give twenty percent of their campaign contributions to a fund they set aside for a nation- wide Election Day party.  Three months out from Election Day, they would turn their funds over to a designated state party (as in ‘partay’)  director.  The combined proceeds would be more than enough to provide an election day lunch or dinner for every citizen in America who is registered to vote.  Each precinct would have a coordinator plan the meal and know how to execute it. The local cooks, gardeners, event, paper product and entertainment companies would be paid out of this fund.  It would be a small boon to the local economies and a boon to our American national pride.  We wouldn’t resent the politicians nearly as much if we knew they were going to buy us dinner and throw us a party at the end of their ugly, hard fought campaigns.images july 4th - Copy

I did some homework.  In 2012, the combined candidates spent over 6 billion dollars on their campaigns.  Twenty percent of that would be 1.2 billion dollars.  That would be about $4.00 per person (including the children) for everyone in America.  I think we could throw America a great party with that amount of money.  It could be bigger than the Fourth of July!   We’d all come out to vote and attend the day long party.  #USAPARTAYDAY!

Wouldn’t it be grand?  Every hamlet, village, town and city in America, celebrating the day they vote for the people to fill the most powerful political offices in the world.  It would be good for America and I think voter turnout would be amazing!

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I remember election day in 1980.  My husband,  Bill and I had been married for a little over a year and we were excited to go to the voter’s precinct and vote together.  We were twenty three years old and we were grown-up!  Feeling heady with our new power to be able to sway a politician’s life and our nation’s future with our two votes, we stepped up to the table for those of us whose names started with the letter “B,” stated our names and our street address and lo and behold, we were given a precious piece of paper that contained destiny…a ballot.

We stepped into a private voting booth and marked our choices.  I went over it several times before I came out from the curtain, not wanting to leave out any name.  I stepped out and handed over my precious ballot and felt like I was the game changer.

It was chilly and raining when we got to the car.  Mom and Dad had invited us over to their house to watch the election returns on television and have dinner that night.  I remember getting out of the car and looking into the den’s big picture window.  There was a fire burning brightly in the fireplace and although we were standing in the driveway, I could see that there was a map of the United States on the television screen with states colored in blue and red.  It was the first time I took notice of the election returns on TV.

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We walked into the house and it smelled wonderful!  Mom had cooked beef stew and cornbread for dinner.  We ate at the table by the fire and confessed to each other the candidates we had voted for.  Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter were running for president and we had voted for Reagan.   As a matter of fact, most of us realized that we had voted a straight Republican ticket.   We talked politics and watched the TV newscasters and pundits tell the election tale as we ate comfort food by the fire.  I’m sure the Democrats needed to have some comfort that night because the Republicans won by landslides.  Almost all of America was covered in red and there was only a flash or two of blue on the map. It was a night I’ll never forget.

We have made an election day tradition at our house. We gather about dark-thirty, fix us a bowl of beef stew and cornbread and watch the returns come in on TV until we can no longer hold our eyes open.  There have been years when we have crawled into bed heart-sick, our candidate’s losing so miserably that we are embarrassed for our party.Gold Water

My first memory of politics was the 1964 presidential election.  Barry Goldwater and Lyndon B. Johnson were running for president.  I remember this because my daddy came home from work that night and told me, “Johnson has won the election by a landslide.”  He proceeded to take a six pack of canned sodas out of a brown paper grocery bag.  The drink was called “Gold Water.”   As he took it out,  he said, “Tonight I’m gonna drown my sorrows in this Gold water.”  I was only seven years old and I couldn’t understand how you could drown sorrows in gold water or why a president could slide around on land and lose the presidency of a country.  Where would he be able to find it under all that dirt?

landslide

Over the years, I’ve seen grown men pout and women cry and go into a state of depression for days when their candidate lost.  On the other hand, I’ve high-fived, danced a jig and puffed up like a blow-fish when my party won. Either way, it’s OK to love your candidate or political party shamelessly.  In fact, it’s downright American of you.

It might be a few years before the candidates would give back to the public any of their hard earned campaign funds but until that’s decided, you’re welcome to come and eat beef stew and cornbread with us on @USAPARTAYDAY.   It wouldn’t matter if you’re red, blue or the seemingly new color purple.  AND… pouting is allowed.

This recipe, by Emeril Lagasse is very similar to mine.  I thought I’d share it with you so that you’d be a making it like a pro by the next election in 2016.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/beef-stew-recipe.html

Here’s your song.  Enjoy.  Sometimes, landslides just happen.

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