I faithfully voted in North Carolina until 1984 when I was briefly living in New Hampshire and couldn’t resist voting in the N.H. Primary.
Every day when I walked to work from my house past the Hanover Inn to the old Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital for a Clinical Pastoral Education residency, I’d see at least one presidential candidate hanging out. Jesse Jackson would be in the bakery. Gary Hart would be eating a sandwich in the diner. Walter Mondale would be interviewed on the corner. I don’t remember ever seeing Ronald Reagan but he was probably there too.
Reagan ran unopposed. There were at least nine candidates on the Democratic ticket. And Independents could vote in either party’s primary, so it was only fun – Democrat or not – to vote in the Democratic Primary. We filed into a school gym on Tuesday, February 28, 1984 and did our civic duty.
But as we voters were leaving the gym, Dartmouth students handed us slips of paper that said something like this:
- If you voted for Mondale, tell the media you voted for Jackson.
- If you voted for Askew, tell the media you voted for Glenn.
- If you voted for Hart, tell the media you voted for Mondale.
- If you voted for Hollings, tell the media you voted for Askew.
You get the idea. In the throes of media madness when we sometimes do not believe our vote matters – because somebody has already predicted who will win, so why bother? – we were keeping our votes to ourselves . . . at least until someone had time to count them.
Political Nerds have almost as much fun as Theological Nerds. Sometimes it takes a little whimsy to get us through this political season.