A blue state? Interesting...

According to an article in Tulsa World today, Oklahoma has more registered Democrats than Republicans! Interesting, I just assumed that this was a red state. At work, I know Democrats are in the minority. One thing I have noticed, people are less open about talking about it here. More than once, I have had a conversation that starts, "Now I don't know what your political leanings are, but..." Too funny. To me at least. I guess coming from the San Francisco, surely one of the most liberal political hotbeds in the country, if not the world, I have never been around people so cautious to voice their political views. I am definitely used to a more radical approach. That said, whenever someone starts a conversation with that phrase, I have realized they are saying it because they are Democrats or more liberal Independents and have something to say, but are testing the waters. Which, with that caution, is why I assumed this was definitely a red state. By numbers alone, 50% of the state's citizens register Democrat while 38% are Republican and the rest are Independent or unregistered.

But historically, it has been seen as a red state, at least when counted in the electoral votes on election night...but times are a-changin'. According to the Tulsa World article, there is great apathy among voters age 18-38. The trend used to be, in general, that young voters who register along the same party lines as their parents. But now, that's not the case. Even among young evangelical Christians, a typically tried and true Republican group, there is a wind of change. Many are no longer comfortable with the values of the Republican party. Interesting, to say the least. A paradigm shift is upon us, for sure.

Goodness knows we're in the middle of America, the belt buckle of the bible belt....Midwestern by locale and Southern by heritage. Needlesstosay, I let them know immediately that I am born and raised in San Francisco, which I am pretty sure, makes it nearly impossible to be a Republican. I mean, there may be a few, but I'd be surprised if there were a lot. Here, I guess I am seen as more liberal whereas back home I was definitely more moderate (in comparison to the far left liberals). Seems there's been a BIG change in just four years. Here's a map of the Presidential Election just four years ago. Notice, Oklahoma has not a drop of blue (neither does Alaska):

I have been listening to POTUS '08 on XMradio daily for the past couple of months and must admit, that this is the most involved in the political process I have ever been. Before now, I pretty much just voted along party lines. And in the time since I have had the right and privilege to vote, there has been two presidents: Clinton and Bush. So this time, I am doing my homework, exploring the issues and really figuring our where each candidate stands.

Frankly, I think both McCain and Obama have their strengths and their weaknesses. They are both aligned with some less than positive supporters and both also have very strong and reputable supporters too. Both have holes in their platforms....neither one is fool proof.

Oddly enough, I have said for many years, “If McCain ever runs for president, I might just vote for him.” I have never voted for a Republican President in my life! So that is saying a lot for me.

So…where does this leave me on November 4th? Well, for sure I will be in Hawaii (for work). And voting absentee, but that's not the question, really, was it?

Hopefully, by November 4th, I will be a well informed American, who has really done their homework in choosing their next president. I encourage each and everyone of you to do your own research too. Please don’t fall into the propaganda of either campaign or simply vote on party lines, because that’s what you always do. How many of you have listened to either candidate’s town meetings, unedited and in their entirety? Or are you simply relying on sound bites and 30 second smear ads that appear during the commercial breaks of your favorite reality show? How many of you have taken the time to research each candidate’s history as a state senator? If you’re hoping it will be wrapped up nicely in a glib, forwarded email, good luck.

To be truly prepared to vote, I hope that you’ll do your own homework and come to your own conclusions. Know what your priorities are and then figure out which candidate is best in line with those. For most it's the economy. For others it's the environment. A for a few more it's morality. Whatever IT is, know that and then do your research. Beyond the snippets on TV or the Internet. I hope that even if you've never voted, you will. Our country’s future depends upon each and every American taking personal responsibility and being truly informed about the issues at hand.