by Sandy Belknap
I remember turning 18 and being very excited to vote in the 1984 Presidential Election. Voter Registration was held at Nashua High School (there was only one high school in Nashua at the time) and I remember registering as an "Undeclared" voter (aka: Independent). I remember having to raise my hand to take an oath about being a citizen and having the right to vote. (which I believe is really a priviledge that we have in the United States.)
At that time, my party affiliation choice was because I was young and grew up in a household that was more liberal vs. conservative and I was indecisive about for which party I really wanted to hang my hat. Since the Primary happened before I turned 18, I was able to vote in the November election without having to change my affiliation. I voted for Ronald Reagan.
But, over the years, I've voted more often for the Democrats, which my voter registration has been reflecting during the past few elections.
A few weeks ago, I made the decision to stop by Nashua's City Hall to change my registration back to "Undeclared." This change is not because I am indecisive.
It is because I am actually very decisive! I don't feel that I personally have a strong connection to either of the mainstream parties. I believe that being "Undeclared" is more truthful than keeping aligned with a party just because it's easier to not make a change. (BTW - I also don't connect at all to the Tea-Party movement, so my very liberal friends can all breathe a sigh of relief!) :-)
I am also not impressed with the behaviors of some the members of both parties, including some in NH, for whom I would typically cast my vote. Specifically, a few months ago, I received an email from a Senate campaign where the headline encouraged recipients to vote online to "...Participate in Republican Idol and Vote for the Most Outrageous Quotation and Rationale."
I was so disappointed in this type of negative (and childish) communication that I immediately asked the campaign to remove me from their email subscription list AND I called the office of the Congressional representative in D.C. that is running for the Senate seat. I called because wanted to share my feelings that I thought such negativity is a poor reflection on this man's character and was definitely a turn-off to me, as a voter (and at the time, a supporter.) I think that a stronger communications platform for this candidate would have been to share his purpose for running for the Senate seat that will be vacated soon and the value that he would bring to this office (including what he will do for me, one of his constituents.)
Multiply this one example by many more of the same type of behaviors that we are seeing across the country by our elected "leaders" right now, and I wonder how many other voters like me, are questioning their party affiliation.
And, for those who are asking questions, I wonder what they are going to do in the weeks and months ahead? Will any actions, like mine, change the attitudes of our representatives in D.C. who are supposed to be working for us, vs. working against each other?