I started my voting life in Pennsylvania in 1988...what an uninspiring election year that was...George H.W. Bush v. Michael Dukakis. In 1996, I voted in Pennsylvania for the last time and began voting in Washington, D.C. Now in 2008, I'm back in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania voting for a President.
I will say it's more interesting voting in a race where you don't know 100% for sure what the outcome will be.
I got to the polling place early. It was a volunteer fire department hall stocked with three voting machines, three or four election workers and two Republican "poll monitors" or whatever they're calling themselves. They were unobtrusive, but within the voting hall itself they were telling voters as they checked them against their books that they were just "trying to make sure John gets elected." Aside from a young man who went out the door as I was coming in, I was, at 39 years of age, the youngest -- or at least close to it -- person there.
Outside the polling place, three women, one of them a conservative Republican running for the state legislature, discussed the vote. The third, who had just cast her ballot, confided in the other two that she was worried...she could control the economy, her economy, but she was scared of terrorism. Then she started talking about Iraq and relatives and relatives of friends she knew who were deployed there or who had returned safely, thankfully.
I simply don't see terrorism as an issue between the two major party candidates. As much as McCain and Palin want to paint Obama as some sort of terrorist sympathizer, it simply doesn't hold water. It was a strategy -- a link to terrorism -- that came off, at least to me, as a rhetorical flourish, a completely unsubstantiated thesis. For all his bluster about not sitting down with Iran, I can almost guarantee you that McCain as President would find himself sitting down with Iran within the first two years of his term (and don't get me started about Iraq. I don't care about speeches and the such when it comes to Iraq -- everyone's looking for some way to pull us out of that quagmire; all they differ on is how to paint it V for Victory). Probably the place these two come closest is on issues of national security.
Anyway, I've voted. I'm done for the day as far as that goes, and I'm going to talk to students all day long about their papers. Tonight is when it all comes out.