I remember vividly the first Presidential Election that I was interested in ... Eisenhower's! We were in about 8th grade I guess, so the teacher had us at the exact right age to really teach a lot about the US government through this event.
The conventions were on black and white TV all day long back then, with lots of interesting on the floor battles for this and that, and usually long drawn out votes for candidates before one was eventually picked. The excitement level was throbbing all over the place.
I remember Adlai Stevenson's famous shoe with the hole in it, not just from photos that have been preserved, but from the actual event. It was a glorious exciting time to be involved for the first time in this huge complex overwhelming process.
We made speeches for our candidates and had a mock vote, and I was so excited when my candidate won! I still have a campaign button with I LIKE IKE on it somewhere tucked away in a drawer.
I look at elections with a jaded eye today. Oh I'm sure there was lots going on back then that was uncivil and really nasty, but it just seems like politicians have lost something over the years. I'm losing the sense that they are truly trying to help people, and get the impression, regardless of what they say, that they are in it for the power and to further their own party's ambitions. It's been a long time since I have heard someone in office called a Statesman ..... because they're NOT.
I'm not going to get into the Obama/McCain campaigns of the moment, as I really don't think that's what this post is about. I just feel a yearning for the "good old days" where the impression I had (maybe a naive one) was that people argued heatedly, debated, spoke, planned, and ultimately worked through that process for the good of the country.