Dream of: 13 June 1995 "Voting Criteria"

I had recently moved to a new community, and had gone to a meeting of a local political party where over 100 people were gathered in a large room. A candidate was being chosen for a local election, and after a while, a black person (about 50 years old) was selected. Just as the meeting was about to break up, it was announced that a hundred and thirty-some dollars was needed to accomplish some necessary project, and as the people filed out, some began giving donations. Most people gave a dollar, but some gave more including one fellow who gave ten dollars.

I decided to give five dollars. I thought if everyone gave a dollar, it would come out about right. But since some people didn't give anything, other people would have to give more. Since I was anxious to see the project completed, I decided to give more.

Instead of giving cash, I decided to write a check. I pulled out a check, but instead of five dollars, I made it for $5.50. However I didn't know to whom the check should be made. I asked someone, and when I was told the name of the group, I wrote it on the check. I didn't simply use letters to write the name, but also symbols, including one small picture of a flower. When finished, I gave the check to the person collecting the money.

All but six or seven people left. I also remained, because somehow it had been decided that I was going to help in getting the candidate ready for the election. This was all new to me; I had never been politically involved. But somehow it seemed natural for me to be here.

I quickly told the others I wanted to bring up one subject in particular. There had been another election the previous day at which I had voted. When I had gone to vote, I hadn't known anything about either of the candidates except that one was black. I told the others that for that reason alone I had voted for that particular candidate. I explained that I had chosen to vote for the black person because I thought black people in general were more liberal than whites, and that since I leaned politically to the left, I chose the black person.

I continued trying to explain my point to the others. I told them that if a voter were faced with two candidates, and if the voter knew nothing else about them except that one was black and one was white, then race would be the salient factor which would determine how the voter would vote. And since most voters didn't know anything about candidates, race normally was an important factor in an election.

I reiterated how I had decided to choose the person for whom I had voted the previous day. However one of the other people here told me that the other candidate was also black. I hadn't known that before, but now realized that in that scenario it wouldn't have made any difference which one I picked.

The others listened to what I had to say, especially a black woman (in her mid 40s) dressed in a red dress. She seemed to think I was making a worthwhile point. As I talked, I also realized I was basically taking charge of the meeting. I thought to myself how typical that was. If I got involved with something like this, I wasn't content to sit on the sidelines, but had to run things. The others seemed to be accepting that fact as well.

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