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'Shot heard round the world' still ringing in New Hampshire

By Amy Makechnie

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 10 2012 11:42 a.m. MST

Prospective voters on their way to the polls walk past a New Hampshire church that is said to house an original Revolutionary War era bell.

Gregor Makechnie

New Hampshire is an exciting place to live when the presidential primary comes to town. The media stir the pot with so much emphasis put on what winning Iowa and New Hampshire could mean to a presidential candidate. Growing up in Nebraska, Iowa's neighboring state, my parents' political interest was plenty. Candidates were often discussed around the dinner table and the car rides to school.

But since the Granite State votes earlier than anyone else except Iowa, the eyes of the nation watch. New Hampshire doesn't always determine the presidential candidate, but it is oft repeated, "It's essential he/she win New Hampshire."

New Hampshire is primarily conservative, yet I live in a pocket of the liberal berth. This has been healthy, having grown up in a conservative community and being educated at a conservative school, to look at the issues more critically, to listen to other people's views, rather than just go with the popular opinion swirling around me. Everyone makes a case.

Our small town has its own unique dynamic. We've got all the parties covered, every candidate appears to be represented when it comes time to walk into a polling booth.

For the past 14 years that I have lived here, there is one man who campaigns year-round, election year or not, with his Libertarian signs, buttons, petitions and pamphlets. I smile when I see him now. I've come to admire his relentless campaigning in a cause he believes in, without ever personally winning an election that I know of.

I will be going to the polls today and am excited to do so. I'm purposely waiting until my four children are home from school so that they can watch their mother participate. Whether my candidate of choice is at the top of the polls or the underdog, I will always cast my vote.

With the current political unrest in Syria, the ongoing assassinations and wars around the world for power and liberty, entering an elementary school to color in the round circle with a No. 2 pencil is momentous to me, a privilege my New England 19th and 20th century suffragette sisters would feel proud of, I'm sure.

I will be able to walk in without being accosted or threatened. There will be signs and people from all different political candidates, they will be passionate and unyielding, but they will be cordial to one another, talk among themselves, and acknowledge everyone who enters and exits.

The Granite State and New England is rich with revolutionary history, with "the shot heard round the world" still ringing. I march in happily to participate in a political process unlike anywhere else in the world. I will feel proud my vote made a difference to someone.

Amy Makechnie is a writer and full-time mother from New Hampshire.

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