Saturday, May 15, 2010

Random Arizona Anecdote: Kids In The Right Neighborhoods Prefer Nixon

In 1972 I was in the second grade at Sunrise Drive Elementary School in the Catalina Foothills school district in Tucson. At the time, the Foothills was a newish but rapidly expanding, affluent suburban area of the city. My parents, liberal Canadians, were certainly in the political minority of the neighborhood.

So anyway, presidential election! I have only the vaguest memories of it. We had a fake election in our grade at school to get the kids excited about our magnificent political process, and it was a real eye opener for me. The students, naturally at that age, simply voted for their parents' choices; you can't expect seven-year-olds to have independently informed political opinions, after all. The results: all but two of us voted for Nixon. In addition to me, only one other classmate voted for McGovern*!

I remember being absolutely shocked. It's not an exaggeration to say that it was a life-changing experience, a veil falling, as it were.  I clearly recall, however, feeling neither embarrassed nor ashamed.

*I don't know how I knew, but the other vote was from my friend John Bergan, and if it's not too great an invasion of privacy, I believe he's the second John Bergan down here. Hi, John!


Sage Tyrtle said...

I grew up in California, and I very clearly remember being the saddest third grader in school when Reagan was elected. Second only to my glorious joy when I realised I could MOUTH the "pledge of alleigance" and nobody would know, and I'd never have to say it again. (But, then, I ended up in Canada. I adore it here. I hope your parents made it back home.)

Jun Okumura said...

Sometime along the 1961-62 school year, an experimental class at Carlyle Elementary School held a mock presidential debate and election, complete with “Nixon” and “Kennedy”, the former bearing a passing resemblance to his temporary namesake. It should please you to know that Kennedy won by a landslide. Of course Carlyle Elementary School is located in the Town of Mount Royal, an Anglophone community in a sea of Quebecois, so we had been growing up under blue state socialism.

I went back to Japan that same year so I never got to see Pierre Trudeau, Canada’s own Kennedy, get elected.

Lulu, the Dewey Dame said...

Some things can't be helped. I grew up in Orange County, CA. The chair of the school board was a member of the John Birch Society. We were given school credit for attending the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade. (Not by our teachers--by our board.)

Isn't transcendence a wonderful thing?

Karen Zipdrive said...

Funny 1972 I was in my first year of college and I voted for McGovern.
Even back then we were outnumbered.

rptrcub said...

My first mock election was in 1988 and I remember voting for Dukakis, even though the rest of my classmates voted for Bush the Elder simply because the name of the Governor from Taxachusetts sounded like something a cat would make after eating a bug.

But it was Bush in 92 and Dole in 96 simply because my parents were, at the time fellow travelers of the right wing and the Contract with 'Murrica crowd.

Somehow realizing that I was gay and telling them that I was gay changed my and their political orientations, in my mom's case, full on raging libtard and in my dad's, from neanderthal to John McCain (2000 edition).

Juliana-Chairwoman said...

1972 was my first Presidential Campaign, I was a Shirley Chisholm supporter.

At 9 I recognized that a black Brooklyn Congresswoman, in high heels, cat glasses, paisley quianna dress and a white mink coat was the bomb!

Plus she was smart as all get out, direct and didn't take anyone's crap.

I still have my original campaign "Catalyst for Change" button and wore it all of 2008, I figured what the heck, you figure out who I'm supporting..

Tombstone Rose said...

You lived on the wrong side of Town in Tucson. Actually Tucson and Pima County is a liberal Democratic county unlike the rest of Arizona.