It is midway through the day here in Texas.
I woke early and was at my desk by 7:30--despite rain and the fact that I usually drift in around 9:00 AM.
I've been aware of a low-level anxiety all morning. Sort of like the feeling my mother used to describe as "ants in your pants."
While I was eating my Chinese food and cruising the Internet over lunch, it dawned on me.
I'm worried about the election.
I was the same way in November, 2000. At that point, I'd had five years of George Bush as governor of Texas and--although I'd been a Republican since I first registered to vote at 18--I refused to vote for him. When he first ran for governor, I wrote him off as a lightweight. Nothing that has happened since then has changed my mind. I didn't vote for him for governor or president.
The television and radio broadcasts are filled with commentary about the war in Iraq and the slowing economy. While both are hugely important issues, neither one worries me as much as a third issue: nominations to the Supreme Court.
Right now the Court is somewhat tenuously balanced: four conservative justices (Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas), four liberal justices (Breyer, Ginsburg, Stevens and Souter) with Justice Kennedy acting as the balance.
The problem is that the two oldest members of the court are liberals: Stevens is 87 and Ginsburg is 74. Kennedy, the court's swing vote, is 71.
The next president, assuming s/he has two terms, is likely to replace two justices. That will probably be the two liberal ones.
I want the Court to remain moderate. So my vote in November will be largely determined by that single issue.
Whatever YOUR issue, make your vote heard. If you haven't yet, get out there and vote. Your vote does make a difference.