The 10th vote
Election Day, and I rolled into my neighborhood polling joint at 9:40 a.m.
It was a breeze, as usual. Unlike some poor apples, I never have to wait when I’m making selections for elections. I made my 10th presidential vote and was out in 10 minutes.
I always make my choices. There’s the usual jazz about what a great privilege voting is, and it really is every American’s duty to choose one guy or gal or the other. It’s the right jazz, too.
I always vote because my father, the late Harold J. Wilkin Jr., ran for positions in Monroe County (Rochester) during the 1960s and 1980s. I know how hard my father worked, walking streets in the old 10th Ward, trying to persuade Democrats and Republicans to go his way. When any candidate takes the time and trouble to knock on my door, I always tell the person I will remember him or her on Election Day. And I do.
Of course, it helps if these visitors are in my party. I take after my father, and have always voted for guys in his extended political family.
Voting for presidents is something special. I was first able to vote for the main man in 1976, when I was a 21-year-old senior at stately St. Bonaventure University. I was on the college newspaper, and we even created a special position that semester to cover the election. I was the “National Affairs Editor,” a title more impressive than it really was.
As I never much liked politics, I was an odd choice for the office. But I had a decent touch with feature-style writing, and was able to complete different pieces in a way I thought most college goofballs — beer and basketball were everyone’s chief majors at Bonnies — would understand them. My stories were not that complicated, but sort of informative.
I had a small staff, and some of these lads and lasses worked harder than others. One was a freshman, a political maniac named Neil Cavuto. I gave Neil assignments about Democrats and Republicans, he gladly accepted them and filed great stuff that made my small department look pretty good. I’m sure those pieces are what helped old Neil get his current position on the Fox Business Network. Good guy.
Again, I never liked politics. So I’m happy enough at the old Gazette, where I occasionally get feature story gigs that are really interesting. But when I was at St. Bonaventure, checking into the 1976 political scenes, it really made me think. My first presidential vote went against family and party lines — I thought Gerald Ford was the better man. Ford lost. And I was 0-1.
Yeah, I keep track. For the last eight presidential votes, dating to 1980, I have only joined my candidate in the winner’s circle three times. You can probably figure out who my candidates were. So as of this morning, I am 3-6, three wins and six losses.
I’d love to tell you who I voted for, but some people might view that as an endorsement. And those are political waters the old Gazette does not ripple.
I can tell you that I might be 4-6 tomorrow. Or maybe 3-7.