Yesterday was the eighth time I have cast a ballot for President of the United States, and the thrill I get, the patriotism I feel, the sense that I'm doing something that will hopefully make a difference for the better in my life and the lives of others, is something that has stayed the same every time I've gone to the polls.

The Presidential election of 1984 was the first that I was old enough to vote in. Incumbent President Ronald Reagan was facing former U.S. Vice President and former Minnesota U.S. Senator Walter Mondale.

I still remember the process leading up to that point and feeling like the spotlight of the world was on the upper midwest, because besides Mondale, other candidates that year also included Former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen as a Republican hopeful, and Former South Dakota U.S. Senator George McGovern.

The race also marked the first time a woman had been on the Presidential ticket for one of the major parties when Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro as his Vice President running mate.

Of course historians remember the election as the biggest landslide in history (yes, larger than '72 with Nixon over McGovern) Reagan was re-elected in the November 6 election in an electoral and popular vote landslide, winning 49 states. Reagan won a record 525 electoral votes total (of 538 possible), and received 58.8 percent of the popular vote; despite Ferraro's selection, 55% of women who voted did so for Reagan.

Since then, I've voted in every presidential election and every state election. I covered news and politics for a few years while doing radio in Rapid City, anchoring coverage there in '92.

This year was the most divisive I've ever experienced however. Maybe because of social media, hundreds of TV stations, dozens of radio stations, etc., opinions were EVERYWHERE. But it was also the nastiest I've seen people in this country become towards each other, finding it not enough to say why they endorse their own candidate, but to devolve into name calling and threats towards others if they don't believe and vote the same as they do.

As proud as I am to participate in the process, I'm disgusted by the wide gap between people's beliefs and the powers that be unable to find a common ground to help the UNITED States, instead of just worrying about getting re-elected and screwing the 'other' party. If the sides could work together for a change, the elections may become less angry and more enjoyable for everyone.