Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Standing Among the Masses

Last night, my daughter asked why I was going to vote.

My response was this: "To not shame or make meaningless the deaths or efforts of the people who fought so hard to give me this right."

Yeah, she looked at me like I had just spewed greater laws of physics.

So I explained that hundreds of years ago, people believed in the right to be heard and to not be subjects under a king so fiercely, so strongly, so adamantly that they put their money where their mouths were, they laid their lives on the battle lines and they fought tooth and nail to become a democracy - a country where there was no king, but rather an elected leader who was to be accountable to the public, a society built on freedom rather than forced service. I explained that many people died just so we could have this right to vote.

She got that. Whew. Because I really didn't want to get out a history book to find a different way to define it.

Then I stated that the least I can do is to get into my car, stand in line for a while and push a few buttons to show where my beliefs lie.

One of the things I have begun to realize is that I need to talk more often about democracy with my children. It is my responsibility to explain to them what my beliefs are and why I hold them. I need to tell them about how there will never be a candidate who believes exactly as I do, but I do have the responsibility to find out who is most aligned with me and give that person my support. I need to tell them that without their participation, this democracy thing just won't work.

I have talked about the number of people who take this society for granted. How they have forgotten - or worse (!) never heard in their education or upbringing - how important this system is to our society. Many people think that their vote isn't heard or that they can't do anything to support/change a situation. They think it is just a waste of time. It isn't.

I've already discussed with my kids about how they need to make a decision based on what they know to be right, not based on what some actor/spokesperson says. I want them to investigate an issue and to stand firmly and to not be swayed by a good-looking/famous/wealthy person's opinion or by what the media says. If after investigations my kids happen to agree with the good-looking/famous/wealthy person's opinion, great. If they don't agree with the findings, then I want them to know that standing alone on their principles is always better than following an ignorant or naive crowd.

Lastly, I want to teach my children that whatever they decide, they should keep in line with the teachings of God. If something is on the ballot that disagrees with the Bible, then I want them to stand for God, not for popular opinion. I feel that I as a Christian have this responsibility, that it is one way I can serve him.

Is it a perfect system? No. But nothing ever will be on earth. But it is the system that God has given us, and I'm going to support it as best as I can.

So this morning, before work, I found myself standing at the polls, anxious to put cast my ballot. I talked with the others around me who had the same idea of voting early. After 30 minutes, I walked out of there happy with the thought that I had my say. And it felt good to be heard without saying a word.

Please, go vote today.

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