Were there a referendum on the ballot reading: Let’s end this year right now! bet everyone will vote Yes. Though referendum writers generally haven’t a sense of humor and voting isn’t a joke.
One election year the Illinois incumbent governor is reelected by just one vote per precinct. Seriously. Can you even believe it? That might have been your vote – or not.
The first election at which I am eligible to vote I awake, without an alarm – unheard of – and am first in line at the polling place. Exciting is an understatement. Some of us are like that. My candidate doesn’t win but still a thrill feeling involved.
So, years later when my son and daughter are of voting age and somewhat less enthusiastic we have a ‘talk.’ Albeit surely they learn this in school, taking no chances I explain, “Voting is a right and a responsibility.” Are they listening? Hearing what I’m saying?
Might be time to paint a picture with words. Make an impact. Appeal to feelings. And, to judgement. “Think about young people, younger than you, who enlist in the military to fight in far away lands to protect America, our freedoms and liberty. To protect us. Sadly, some never come home. Never again to spend Thanksgiving with their families, how very much their families miss them and always will.” The children are paying better attention now.
“These young Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are brave beyond belief. They dodge bullets while crawling through mud, watchfully guard their ships and hope like hell they aren’t torpedoed, have their planes shot from the air with some pilots taken hostage, others going wherever they must however they can to save one another. They surely are scared, lonesome for home. All the while hoping for mail call – maybe to read a letter from their Mother with news about their kid brothers grades and little league or their sisters forthcoming wedding they aren’t able to attend, or to see a photo of their new little baby and wanting, wishing and praying to hold him or her. Imagine, just imagine. We all owe them so, so much.”
“Mom.” It is kind of a ‘Mom please stop’ Mom. I’m getting to them. They are looking a bit concerned, even somewhat sad. “Don’t you think a vote is a very fair exchange?” In unison, “Yes.”
“Great. So you realize why it is so important for you to vote?” Two heads shake up and down. Not as emphatically as at times, but genuinely nonetheless. “When you consider all who have given all makes walking a block, waiting in line for ten or even twenty minutes and casting a vote seems really the right thing to do?”
“Yes. We’ll vote,” they agree. And, they do.
Years and years later they still do.