Thursday, October 15, 2009

One Memphis

In the fall of 1991, I was a first-year student at Rhodes College. I vividly remember sitting in my dorm room (201 Williford) and watching the mayoral election returns on Heather's tiny TV, the one with the orange Texas Longhorns sticker slapped on the side, the one that was propped on the corner of her desk. And I remember being profoundly disappointed.

It was my first election as a registered voter, and I did NOT vote for Willie Herenton. As a senior in high school, I had researched his tenure as head of the Memphis City Schools for a Current Events class and had decided that he was horrendous. I didn't have any strong feelings about Dick Hackett, but I knew he wasn't Willie, so I voted for him. And every four years since, I have voted for someone who wasn't Willie. And every election night, I've been disappointed, although never as much as the first time. That first time, I was still optimistic. But as the years passed, I lost that optimism and just felt resigned. It wasn't a healthy attitude, for me or for my city.

Today I went to the polls to once again vote for a mayoral candidate. For the first time, I was able to vote for a candidate I had postitive feelings for rather than just voting against a candidate I felt negative about. And I took my daughter with me. (I wasn't even dating her father yet the first time Willie won!) It was a great feeling, one I was glad I could share with my kids and with my fellow Memphians.

Memphis, you are my home. I've flirted with other cities, but I've never loved anyone more than you. Tonight we have a chance to move on, together, to a better future. I look forward to making the journey with you.

1 comment:

Kaye McMahan said...

I found your blog through Dining with Monkeys and was so excited because I used to work with Sherri before the Chockleys moved to Nashville. This post brought back so many memories!! I was a wee bit older than you in 1991, but had a Hackett sign in my yard in Raleigh - that's how much I did NOT want Willie to win!! I knew of his tenure at MCS(I am a product of Shelby County Schools). I got goosebumps when I researched and found that Wharton won!! I live in Michigan now, but would have loved to been able to say that I voted for A.C. Wharton!! Thanks so much for the great news!! Please tell Sherri "hello" for me.

Kaye McMahan