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Monday, September 19, 2016

Every Vote Matters

The photo below shows me, far left (lol), waiting to shake hands with Vice President Humbert H. Humphrey in his hotel room at the Hilton Hotel in Denver in 1968. That was nearly fifty years ago. The photo was taken a few weeks before the Democratic National Convention which I attended as a member of the Colorado delegation.  I left the convention the day after Humphrey won the nomination - I refused to stay to watch him accept the nomination. I felt the whole thing was rigged.

1968 was a pivotal year in American history. These are a few of the events that happened that year:

In early spring Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota challenged Lyndon Johnson for the Democratic Nomination as President.

On March 31 President Lyndon Johnson announced the would not seek nor would he accept the nomination of his party for another term as President.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis on April 4th. Within a few days riots broke out across America. Cities burned. A month later Senator Ted Kennedy spoke at the Colorado Jefferson Jackson Dinner held at the Hilton Hotel. I was there that Saturday night. He had every man and woman in tears as he described the positive changes that had occurred as a result of Martin Luther King's life and leadership and loss we faced with his death.

Senator Robert F Kennedy was assassinated on June 6th within minutes after winning the California Democratic Primary Election.

Governor George Wallace of Alabama mounted a hugely successful candidacy to challenge both Vice President Hubert H Humphrey and Governor Richard M Nixon.

The Viet Nam War divided America more than any event I can remember in my years on earth. Half of America wanted to leave Viet Nam and the other half wanted to destroy it as if that would destroy Communism and restore our old world order.  Families were split. Generations were at war with each other with the older generation supporting the war effort and the younger generation demanding that we exit Asia. Many of the men in the service were branded as "baby killers". Young men that refused to join the war effort were called "draft dodgers" except guys like Bill Clinton and Donald Trump who got suspicious deferments. I got one of those deferments. I ended up feeling guilty as hell. 

The angst of the youth was not limited to the United States. In an era before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even the internet, young people across the world protested the war and social injustice. I watched the CBS Evening News every night and watched Walter Cronkite recounting the demise of the world. Each day I wondered what next would happen.
I was holdup in my dorm room in Fort Collins, Colorado thinking the world was about to end. Election Day came. I voted my conscious and not my party. I got my ballot and wrote-in the name of Eugene McCarthy for President and Abraham Ribicoff as Vice President. I wasted my vote. For that I am ashamed. I was smarter than that. But I voted with emotion rather than reason. Richard Nixon won the election, not because he was the most favored, but because he had the most electoral votes. Nixon had 301 electoral votes, Humphrey had 191, and George Wallace had 46.  My vote didn't change the election, but I know a lot of Democrats sat out the election or chose not to vote for Humphrey. We got Richard Nixon and all the chaos and rancor that followed. I realize now that our collective lives would have been different and I believe they would have been better.  I don't think the divisions that the Nixon era generated would have happened. He was a divisive figure.  I think his impeachment created the nexus to get a Democrat in revenge - not because it was merited but because Republicans sought equity. I may or may not be correct about that. It is what I think. I could be very wrong.  But I do know our reality would be entirely different had Humphrey won.

Forty-eight years later our country is facing a new election and has choices not everyone is excited about. I am excited about my candidate and have given money to the campaign. I will enthusiastically cast my ballot this year. I urge votes to vote. I know for certain that there will be a new reality no matter which person wins this election.

If you think one votes does not matter, you are wrong! Every vote matters!

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I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.