In 1980, I was able to cast my first vote, and I continue to be proud that I voted for Ronald Reagan. The 1980 election was a watershed that changed history as Reagan's optimism and pride in the United States stood in stark contrast to the embarrassment that was Jimmy Carter with his "malaise" coupled with ineffective foreign policy. Carter's years in office, to me at the time and even now with the filter of years of experience and maturity, were simply awful. Our economy was in a tail spin, our respect throughout the world was dismal, and I cringed whenever Carter spoke because I considered him inept at best. So, my generation's first vote felt special because we changed the course of history.
Now, 28 years later, a new generation with the same passion for "change" has rejected the GOP based on many of the same concerns that led me to the voting booth 28 years ago: The economy, fears about the future, concern about world politics, etc. Though I have concerns with some of President-Elect Obama's policy recommendations, I have to respect that the voters have selected him based on motives as sincere as mine were. I plan to heed McCain and Obama's call for unity because that is the fundamental ideal of our political system.
From a personal perspective, I awoke this morning to find that I had received 141,109 votes in my uncontested race for Seat 4 on the Board of Trustees of the College of Western Idaho. 141,109 people! Most legislators in Idaho -- even popular ones -- received less than 40,000 votes. It was odd to see my name on the ballot, and seems surreal to know that many people voted for me. Of course, I will second guess the 1,400 plus write-ins against me (though some friends indicate they wrote in my wife who admittedly is much smarter than I am). I suppose it's the proverbial "why didn't they like" me lament!
On the CWI Board, I will join two incumbent friends (Guy Hurlbutt and MC Niland) in welcoming our two new members Tammy Ray and Stan Bastian.
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