January 25th…“AT WHAT AGE WERE YOU ALLOWED TO VOTE? AND, WHOM DID YOU VOTE FOR IN YOUR FIRST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?”
I ponder what guidon is used as the banner that depicts maturity in an individual? Age alone? Intellect? Position in life? I am sure our forefathers must have mused over those same questions as they determined the blueprint of how, and when, someone should be allowed the privilege to engage in the voting process of this democratic society we call America.
I admire the wisdom of our beloved President, Abraham Lincoln, when he said, “I go for all sharing the privileges of the government who assist in bearing its burdens”. Lincoln’s input, plus uncountable others, for over a century, eventually led to 1971 and the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution that granted myself and anyone aged 18 years or older the right to vote in elections.
Countless numbers of my generation felt that if we were old enough to spill our blood in Vietnam (or other conflicts), we were also old enough to have a say in how our government was run via participating in elections.
Therefore, as I was stepping off of the Battle Ground High School stage, after receiving my diploma, in May of 1972, I was also drinking in the political scene and information leading up my very first Presidential Election in November of that year. As I stepped into the voting booth for the first time, having joined the Republican Party, I cast my ballot for Mr. Richard Milhouse Nixon as our next President. History shares that Nixon won that election in what is known as a “landslide”. He received 520 Electoral College Votes compared to his contender, the Democratic Party candidate (George McGovern) who only garnered 17 Electoral College Votes.
President Nixon’s Vice President was named Spiro T. Agnew. On a humorous aside, there was a joke going around, at the time, that when Nixon found out who his running mate would be, he told Mrs. Nixon one evening in their bedroom, “Honey!!! I have Spiro T. Agnew!” , to which she responded, “That’s nice dear, just wash your hands and come to bed!” (maybe her thinking was that the soon to be Vice President’s name was some sort of disease? Hehehe!) Thus transpired the limited politics of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.