Good evening and Happy Election Day, Borderstanians. I love election day. My parents instilled in me, and my siblings, the importance of doing your part on election day. You voteâ€”always. No one in my family misses elections and I cannot understand people who don’t vote.
Furthermore, I am an Illinois native, a state where politics is truly serious business and lots of ex-governors go to jail. IÂ grew up downstate and later lived 10 years in Chicago where I did my share of volunteer political work at the local level.
Growing up, one of my earliest memories is accompanying my late father to the polls on November 3, 1964, where he voted for LBJ for president. Everyone knew my dad was a loyal Democrat, but as I said, politics in Illinois was, and is, serious business. The Democratic precinct committeman (a friend of my dad) kept asking him, “Did you vote a straight ticket?” My father just kept laughing, saying, “The one thing I don’t have to tell is how I vote.” The precinct committeeman had a state job, so he had a vested interest in the Democratic governor getting re-elected. In those days, even the road mainteance crews were hired based on political affiliation. By the way, that Democratic governor, Otto Kerner, later went to jail. I think it was for accepting bribes.
We were farmers and our precinct was the entire township. We voted in the township hall, which is about 1 mile from the farm. Many more people lived in that part of rural Illinois 44 years ago, and farmers would take a couple of hours off to go vote, and then eat a chicken dinner, courtesy of the Methodist ladies, in the large hall above the general store. (I am not making up any of this stuff.) Â If you went there right now, voting would be in progress. I voted there myself for the first time in 1978.
So, if per chance you read this posting before 8 p.m. today and you still haven’t voted, go vote now. It’s important. I know because my dad told me so.