President Clinton was first elected president when I was in 7th grade. I watched his inauguration with the rest of my Social Studies class that January. Our teacher, Coach Adams, had taught us how the election system worked with the popular vote mingling with the Electoral vote so the swearing-in ceremony was a big Democracy in Action moment for our class.
We all stared up at the television screen as President Clinton finished his oath. I’m sure many of my classmates were wondering when they would be able to get down to the lunchroom.
Suddenly, Coach Adams kicked his chair across the room, — a few of us started in our seats — exclaiming that he had FINALLY voted for someone who became president.
I didn’t really understand political beliefs at that time — Republican versus Democrat — but I did get that it’s nice to know when your voice is heard. There is a sense of pride. Sometimes it’s so invigorating it even makes you want to kick chairs.
I felt like kicking a chair this evening — my own voice was finally heard. Though, as Coach Adams taught me, my state’s Electoral vote was what truly counted and Alabama runs quite red, my vote was counted all the same.
Sixteen years later, I was reminded of my teacher and that moment right before lunch on a January day. I can appreciate why Coach Adams was so happy.
I can finally look at our president and think, “See that man? I voted for him.” Me and so many others.