Why I Vote...
I was asked recently, for a different project, to sum up why I vote, in one or two sentences. Yeah, in just one or two sentences, not an easy task. So I thought about it for a while, I had to separate "what I vote for" from the real, deeper reasons "why I vote", the why not the what. The what may change from year to year but the why stays the same. This is what I wrote:
"I feel it is my responsibility to vote. 100 years ago I would not have been able to vote. The women that fought for my right to vote, hold me up on their shoulders, encouraging me to go higher. I vote for myself, and to honor that commitment. The second and third reasons I vote, are my children, the boys in the photo. I have nurtured them all their lives and I feel it is my duty to ensure that I do my best to leave this world in a better place, for them, in many different ways, part of that includes voting."
Not bad, for a couple of sentences. But in contemplating the what and the why I got teary eyed thinking about my boys and the voting process. I have always tried to be an example for my boys. Living my process out loud for them to see and hear. My boys are now 19 and 22. My oldest voted in the past presidential election, for my youngest this is his first presidential election. I have always taken time when preparing to vote. I research all the candidates, watch debates, go to forums and town hall meetings, from county commissioner on up. I really think local elections are so important on a local level, even more so than presidential elections. I have always tried to involve the boys in this process and I had taken them to the polls with me when they were younger. Now, years later it is nice to see them researching the candidates themselves and taking this seriously. I know younger citizens don't feel as much of a "need" to vote, often times bypassing the process altogether. My mom instilled in me the importance of voting and I wanted my boys to pick that commitment up from me as well.
I love hearing their thoughts and ideas about different candidates, I love listening to them pick the candidate's web sites apart, and discuss what the candidates are NOT talking about, the meaning behind candidates words. It just makes my heart burst to see what thoughtful, informed voters they are. Love my BOYS, such good young men!
So if you have young ones yourself, involve them in the process. That doesn't mean making them research candidates with you. Just live your life out loud, take them with you when you can (if they are real young bring toys with you to keep them entertained if you have to wait). Be the example. It does make a difference.