So, my next foray into the world of politics came with the 1988 election, and this time I was much more aware of what was going on than the six-year-old who wanted to see her favourite newscaster. For one thing, I went to a school that was determined to produce good citizens, so we followed the election VERY closely.
I also grew up in a family that was determined to produce good citizens. My mother's family are all good Democrats, and have been for generations. My father's family, for the most part, are uninterested, although I believe my grandparents are Republicans. My father claims to be registered as an Independent, which is technically not a possibility in Indiana. So, Bush v. Dukakis is my first memory of the "vote for the man, not the party" speech that I've heard hundreds of times since. (I personally am equally in favour of voting for the woman.)
We watched the debates (at home). We read the kids' newspapers (at school). One of my friends wore a Dukakis pin every day. I didn't know enough about either candidate's stance on anything to make up my mind, although I did know that Bush was Reagan's VP, so that seemed a good reason to give him a shot at being president.
So come election day, our school was a polling place. We were banned from the gym that day, although we did take a very quiet "field trip" so that we could see democracy in action. And, as a bonus, we got to participate in the kids' voting that was sponsored by one of the children's magazines-- so we knew what it was like to step into the booth and punch the candidate of our choice. (Hee!)
That evening, I recounted the experience for my parents, and my father very helpfully told me, "Well, it didn't count!"
Thanks for clearing that up.