This past Tuesday, for the first time, I took my daughter with me to the polls. Actually, our polling place is how I found our family’s daycare solution, and I have a soft spot in my heart for voting for that very reason. But that’s another post.
The point is,, it’s easy for me to vote because the polling center is about 100 yards away from where I drop our toddler (now on a part-time basis, but I digress). So this past Tuesday we dropped off our toddler and then my daughter and I went across the street to vote.
“Mommy, what’s voting?”
“Voting is where people get to say which people they want for certain jobs in the government.”
“Oh! I hope you win, Mommy!”
“Well, I’m not trying to win any of these jobs. I’m going to vote to pick which people I think would be best for the jobs. But thanks, sweetheart.”
We then talked a little about how people voted President Obama into office, and how people have to vote for other jobs too. We don’t actually know anyone in elected office, so it was a tricky thing to explain the idea of government, but I think a foundation may have been built.
The actual voting itself, I think, was anti-climatic. There were no campaign workers near the polling site, and relatively few campaign signs. I filled out my bubble sheet, and fed it into the ballot box. She was happy to wear the “I Vote, I Count” sticker, though, and I think it was a good introduction to the process.
Tuesday was the first of many trips I hope we make to the polls together. It’s a privilege to vote and I want her to know it’s important. To put it in perspective, when my grandmother was five years old, she couldn’t go to the polls to vote with her mother because it wasn’t legal for women to vote. Think about that. I can’t imagine not being involved in the political process because of my gender. To get the message that my father is capable of voting, but that my mother isn’t is NOT the message I ever want conveyed to my children. The political process is far from perfect, but it’s still something that should never be taken for granted.