Tuesday, November 07, 2006


When I was growing up, I lived as the eldest child of a mixed marriage.

My Mom was a Democrat. My Dad, a Republican.

Each election, they would have the same discussion. "Why bother voting? We'll just cancel each other out anyway."

And each time, they both did vote. Secretly hoping the other one wouldn't.

So, growing up in this type of a home, I heard both sides of the story. Though they didn't talk much about politics, their personal views and ethics were clear. They were respectful of each other, and agreed to disagree. And disagree they did.

My mom died in 1998. My dad is still a staunch Republican, with Christmas cards from the Bushes arriving each year, and of course his prized possession, a photograph of himself with his uncle Melvin and Ronald Reagan, in the prime position on the wall in the den, next to the door, so he can see it every time he walks in and out. My grandparents, too, are Republicans from way back, and are proud to wear little elephant pins on their lapels and decorate their homes with American flags and red, white and blue.

On my mom's family's side, things are a bit quieter, but their political views are just as strongly held and just as passionate. Though they may not wear their opinions on their sleeve or lapel, they do their duty. They vote.

As do I. Every election. (OK, I admit that I think I missed one for alderperson back in 2002.**)

Today, I got to feel that wonderful feeling that I get each time I walk through the school doors and give my name and address. I hobbled on my crutches over to a table and folding chair, sat down, and cast my ballot. (I had to suppress the urge to cheer as I headed toward the door.)

I am proud to be an American, and I always will be. I am proud to have the right to vote. I am proud that my vote counts, even if statistically it's not very much.

But it's mine. It's my opinion. It's my values. It's what I feel and think and believe, and I have the right to tell my government. It was a right that people fought and died for, and I do not take it lightly.

And every time I exercise my right, my duty, I am filled again with that powerful knowledge that ensures me--I do matter.

And so do you. Please, if you haven't yet, cast your vote. Tell them what you think.

Because it is important.

*Image from University of Tennesee Libraries.
**Alderperson 2002: I still feel a little guilty about that one.



At 9:10 AM, November 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right ON! However people feel about politics in general, they need to get out there and exercise their democratic rights. I even told my husband just to simply vote his conscience, vote his values, and he did. Granted, his candidates only got about 7%, but he certainly felt a lot better at the end of the day. I'm with you--I feel guilty when I miss an election, too!

At 6:01 PM, November 08, 2006, Blogger Kat said...

I'm with you too! It's an honor to be able to vote, and I love doing it when the appropriate year rolls around.

At 10:58 PM, November 08, 2006, Anonymous Jane Ann said...

I feel the same. Thanks for your post. I posted about my own political upbringing last night, if you're interested.

At 5:13 AM, November 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in Oz land, it's compulsory that everyone 18 years old+ vote. Because of this, I don't think we think too in depth about it. We do it because we have to and not so much in the belief of the person we voted for...

At 5:37 PM, November 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry anonymous but i disagree with you. I think that it is better that it's compulsory in Australia to vote because it makes people think about it. even if they may not care it forces you to think a bit and pay attention to what the pollies are doing.otherwise you end up with a situation like the US where last time 40% of people voted, how crazy is that?


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