This is not going to be a post about my political beliefs; they are for me to hold and perhaps talk about with close friends and family from time to time. I'm not here to talk about how I voted or why, or jump on any bandwagon berating or cheering others for how they voted. So you can read on, unafraid, I promise...
This being a rather momentous Presidential race year, I did my best to bring the process down to a level that my eight and ten year old kids could understand. We talked a lot in the weeks and months before about the candidates, what they stood for, what political parties are all about, and why they might have been chosen by their parties. We not only talked about the front runners, we also talked about the minor parties and who was running on their behalf.
Then, just a week or so before Election Day, we got wind of a Presidential rally for Gary Johnson that was going to be in downtown Portland. Knowing that it would be smaller and therefore not so overwhelming for the kids, we ventured out as a family to further participate in the hullabaloo. Although they were mostly bored for the whopping 50 minute rally, they did think it was pretty cool to be in the same room with a man that was running for President of the United States.
When election day finally rolled around, I let the kids drop our ballots in the box (I miss the days when Oregon had voting booths and little old ladies with cookies and lemonade at the courthouse, and bunting and patriotic music, and those little stickers that said, "I Voted").
I want my kids to understand just what a privilege it is for us to be able to vote in the first place. We live in an enormous country, and regardless of how you feel about our political process, it is there and has grown into the thing that it is for a reason and for a price. I'm not by nature a person that is highly patriotic; I tend to be more of a "Go World!" type. But when it all boils down, we as a country have as much to be proud of as any country out there, and the fact that our people (and women!) have a say is pretty spectacular. We all have our faults and ugly times in our histories. But that is a different post for a different day.