Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Right to Vote

Happy Election Day! It always feels like a bit of a holiday to me. I like the every four year tradition of standing in line, proving who you are, and then exercising your right to have a say in who leads this great country of ours. Growing up I was taught that if you do not vote, you have no right to complain and that forsaking your right to vote when so many fought before you to ensure you this very right was wasteful and disrespectful. Standing with the masses makes me feel like a part of the system and proud to be an American. 

Bryan and I have been looking forward to being able to walk to our Polling Place and to taking our daughter with us. Although we frequently (but not always) stand on separate sides of politics, we stand together in striving to teach our daughter to be independent, thoughtful, and well-educated. Learning early on that going to vote is a normal and responsible part of life is a part of this process. 

We walked through the leaves on this beautiful November morning and arrived at the neighborhood elementary school to a surprisingly long line (we purposely went later in the morning but were happy to see so many people out there voting). After 25 minutes, a volunteer asked if anyone was interested in using a paper ballot because there was no wait to do so. We turned down the offer and I continued to try and entertain our antsy almost three year old with pictures on my phone. 20 minutes later when they offered again, we raised our hands because our snacks, stories, and phone pictures were losing their shine. At first I was disappointed because it seemed antiquated and I was worried about how it would be counted (not to mention that there is camaraderie in that line!). However, it turns out that if you use the paper ballot, you sit down at a table and your darling girl can crawl in your lap. While quietly answering her questions about the ballot, I filled it out with my arms reached around her and it hit me. Women in this country have only been able to vote for less than a hundred years. 1920 was really not that long ago but there I sat easily exercising my right and teaching my daughter to do the same in the future.  Just imagine the possibilities that could be reality when it is time for her to teach this important lesson to her own children. Happy Election Day, indeed!

P.S. Not to worry, if you fill out the paper ballot, you then scan it into a machine. My visions of it being dropped in a cardboard box never to be seen or counted again were for naught.