Back when Steve Martin was doing stand up, he had a bit where he’d confront a heckler from the audience. He’d respond to the person giving him a hard time by saying, “Yeah, I remember when I had my first beer…” For some reason that reminds me of what I’m saying about my 18-year-old daughter… “Yeah, I remember when I had my first vote…” My daughter, Nicole, is 18 years old and has the opportunity in her first election to vote for our next president. My first opportunity came in 1980 when I was 21 years old.
At the time I voted like anyone in my shoes would have voted. I was the son of two Democratic public schoolteachers, had grown up in Marin, and at the time was living in Los Angeles, working in the movie business. Of course I voted for Jimmy Carter. Only those selfish-racist-evil Republicans voted for Ronald Regan. (This is one of my two biggest votes I’d like to take back. The other was voting for Barbara Boxer)
Nicole’s upbringing in our house was less conventional that was mine when I was a teenager in Marin, circa late 1970s. I was spoon fed all the liberal feel-good nonsense by the public schools, my parents, and all media. Talk radio at the time was not even on my radar as an option for alternative thought. There was only one way to think – like a "progressive."
Nicole has had a different path to her first election. First, she was raised in a religious home by my Mexican-Catholic wife. Second, she saw her father evolve from a 35-year-old liberal to a 53-year-old conservative. She truly has seen “both sides of the coin.”
She tells me she’s not sure who to vote for. There are things she likes about both candidates and things she does not like about both. She’s not yet an ideologue like her father or grandparents, so is a true swing voter-independent-Libertarian.
To Nicole, it’s no secret who her dad will vote for. Her mom is not yet a U.S. citizen, so Mrs. Amyx has no vote. I’ve also told Nicole on more than one occasion that I will respect her and love her just the same no matter who she votes for. That doesn’t however take away the fact that I have tried my best to inform her on the benefits of voting a predominantly Republican ticket. My advice to her, as an undecided voter, is that when in doubt, vote with your MIND, and avoid voting with your heart. Just like our old buddy Winston Churchill (as the story goes) said, “If you’re 20 years old and aren’t a Liberal, you don’t have a heart. If you’re 40 years old and not a conservative, you don’t have a brain…”
I’m guessing Nicole’s heart will be bigger than her brain at 20, and if I’m still around when she’s 40, it might see a different story.