Twelve years ago I told my four year old daughter to grab her coat because we were going to the park after voting. If she seemed particularly enthused, I barely noticed. The logistics of pulling two kids out of car seats may have also made me miss the first sign of confusion, and it was only as we started walking that she turned her adorable face up to me asking, "But where are the boats?"
"Oh honey," I replied. "We're voting today, not boating."
I can only point to a polished mothering skill set - and perhaps the fully stocked Girl Scout bake sale outside the polling place - that we avoided a full meltdown. That she accepted a flag sticker and brownie instead of a day on Lake Anna with her grandparents was an Election Day miracle.
Her disappointment then was to later reflect my own in the results of that election, where the direction of country was decided by about five hundred people. But it only reinforced my idea that every vote matters, even if you don't feel like dragging a couple of kids to the polls or subjecting one to what could have been a pivotal moment in future trust issues.
Anyway, in responding to the KidLit call for Why I Vote, I wanted to find the truth in moving statements about women fighting for voting rights or men dying for the privilege to cast ballots. While I certainly don't discount either, that's not why I vote.
I vote because it's just what you do. You park in the lines at the supermarket, you shovel your sidewalk in the winter, and you take turns merging on the highway. These are the hallmarks of a modern society. And if people ignore all of them, well then, our country also allows for your right to be a dick. But I choose not that course.
Today I vote with hope for our future and also hope for an iced brownie at the bake sale, because the best of humanity combines the sublime and the mundane. As for which defines voting and which the brownie... well, I'll leave that open-ended.
Check out other thought at Chasing Ray's round-up of Why I Vote. And VOTE!