You never forget when someone in your family makes their first run for public office. You envision your future in the White House and start coming up with cool Secret Service code names.
I know this because when my daughter Ashley was in fourth grade she entered the world of politics. With much thought and discussion as a family she had decided to run against Christian for class student council representative. It was a very big deal in our household.
She spent all week writing her speech and practicing it in front of her bathroom mirror. I spent all week worrying about which outfit she should wear and whether or not we should cut her bangs.
We strategized around the dinner table every evening about how she could really help the students she would represent at Grantline Elementary. The issues of longer recess times and less homework seemed to be hot topics that any representative would need to address if he or she were to be a successful leader.
Between making campaign promises and deciding whether or not to cut her bangs, you could say we were immersed in the grade school political arena.
On Election Day I waited patiently in the car line until she jumped in. I couldn’t tell by the look on her face if she had won or lost so I tried to bring the subject up gently.
“So how was it?” I inquired.
“Good! Christian won.” she replied.
“Oh honey I am so sorry. I bet it was really close.” I said. My heart was breaking for her and I silently wondered if a new hairstyle would have made the difference.
“Not really, I think everyone voted for him.” she said.
“Well honey not everyone voted for him I am sure you didn’t”.
“Oh yeah Mom I voted for him too.” she said proudly.
“Why in the world didn’t you vote for yourself” I asked somewhat shocked.
“Mom I had to vote for him. He had a better speech and better ideas.” she said .
I was proud of my beautiful caring daughter that day and still proud when all the 2016 election coverage reminded me of that 2002 Grantline election.
Why can’t we all be selfless enough to just vote for the best person? Does it really matter whether or not they are Democrat or Republican? Do any of us really contemplate why we are voting the way we are voting or do we just vote because we want our party to win? Are we voting because our family has always backed a certain party?
Are we really listening to the speeches like Ashley did? Would we have the courage to stand up and say that we voted for the other party because we felt they would do a better job?
Do you talk to your kids about the valid reasons why you are for or against certain candidates? Do you have all the facts to back up your answer?
We can’t keep complaining about our country and our politicians because WE are the ones giving them the power. We hired them and we have the ability to fire them.
Sadly most of us spend more time researching which cell phone we want to buy than we do the records and policies of our presidential candidates.
So I urge you to be like my smart selfless daughter Ashley. When you go to vote, vote for the person you feel will do the best for our country not just the one that belongs to your chosen party.
Vote because you know what they stand for and what their plans are for our country.
Vote like this is one of the most important decisions of your life and do so with conviction.
Most importantly, vote. Exercise your most precious privilege with pride backed by knowledge.
There is no room for apathy or ignorance on Election Day.