Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Primary day

It's primary day at the polls here. I was planning on going to vote first thing. (Hah! Just a little joke - "first thing" is generally 5:45 now, when Rocco wakes up aggressively, DT goes to cuddle with him for a little while, I lie in bed feeling guilty for 20 minutes, then go get Rocco and DT goes for a run before the temperature gets above 100. I meant "first thing after all that," of course.)

In the past, I've always had WonderGirl with me when I voted. We would usually stop on our way to or from school; I like going with her because it makes me feel like I'm teaching her how important it is to take advantage of the opportunity to vote, she likes going because the poll workers always give her my "I voted" sticker. (To be fair, she was pretty disappointed with our first voting foray during the 2004 election season - she thought we were going "boating" and, let's be honest, no middle school gym can compete with that for a 2-year-old.)

This morning, I couldn't bear to mess with tradition, so I waited to go until she got up and we went together again. On the way to our polling place, we talked about one of the UU principles WonderGirl has been learning about in RE - if you believe in something, you should act on it. I told her that not everyone in the world is allowed to vote, and we shouldn't take it for granted. We even sang a song to that effect, and I kid you not, I got choked up. On the way out, we talked to an older woman who was also pretty emotional about voting, and who had also taken her daughter with her to vote for years.

WonderGirl will have plenty of time for cynicism later, and for questioning whether the Diebold machine I used today is really going to count my vote. Later, she can wonder if it even matters if it counts my vote. For today, though, that little girl has a taste of why voting is important, and she thinks that it's normal for adults in her community to feel emotional about having the right or ability to vote. As corny as it sounds, I wish more of us could hold on to that feeling. Kudos to all of the local people who have gone the extra step and are running for local offices in an attempt to make their towns better. If you believe in something, you should act on it.

1 comment:

DT said...

I've always found primaries fascinating, particularly the idea of only voting in "your" political party's primary, inevitably leading to the phenomenon of "independents" voting in primary's solely to vote for the less desirable candidate in the other party in order to bolster their own party's candidate's chance to win. Strategic democracy? I think everyone should be allowed to vote in everybody's primary, anything else is a step closer to the death of the citizen-state.

Having said that, I wonder when it was that we got spoiled. Seeing Iraqis holding up purple fingers with pride made me angry at all of us who do not vote. I'm proud of you, Ruth, for taking our offspring to vote and hope she remembers it.