Jan 28, 2024

In Favor of Open Primaries

People standing in line to vote, Washington, D.C. | GPA Photo Archive
People standing in line to vote, Washington, D.C. | GPA Photo Archive

I came into this world sixty-nine years ago. Growing up, I don’t remember my parents ever discussing politics. I guess they were too busy working to feed and clothe three kids, fighting about God knows what, dealing with my older brother’s mental illness, and eventually divorcing when I was fourteen. This was the era of the civil rights movement, women’s liberation and the Vietnam War, but my worldview didn’t extend beyond dealing with the chaos of my personal life.

As I got closer to graduating high school, the prospect of being drafted and sent to Vietnam loomed large. Acquaintances just a year older than me joined the military with the hope of avoiding being sent to Vietnam. I heard about some fleeing to Canada, and some received deferments by attending college. None of these options were appealing, so I was relieved when the draft ended the year before I graduated high school. I wasn’t motivated to become one of the first eighteen-year-olds to vote when the voting age was lowered in 1971. I wouldn’t punch my ballot for the first time until four years later but, by then a new form of chaos had replaced the former, and politics were once again superseded by the struggles of daily life.

Fast forward forty-five years, and I’m telling an entirely different story.