Okay, I admit it. Other than for a couple of critical issues, I am just not that into politics. When an election rolls around, I try to pick people who will run things for me the way I want them to, and that’s about it. So when I realized that today was the primary election here in California — on the way home from taking the kids bowling — I was seriously considering blowing off voting.
Had it merely been a case of voting for a few important candidates and a handful of state and local ballot measures, I probably would have skipped it. I realized, however, that there was more at stake than who was going to handle running the government. There were kids involved.
I try to make it a habit to regularly discuss important legal issues and cases with my kids on the way to school in the morning. Even my six-year-old knows what SCOTUS means and how they decide what laws are okay. And while the topics of our discussions most often revolve around the first amendment and the ongoing fight for civil rights for all, I do try to cover the importance of an involved citizenry (I know, do as I say, not as I do!). And for that reason, I pulled out the voter information pamphlets this afternoon and started going through the information.
After a dinner spent discussing the importance of voting — if you don’t vote, you’re letting everyone else control your life — we all packed into the minivan and drove over to our local polling place. We cast our votes as the kids read and played on their tablet. Afterwards, we slipped our ballots into the box and the kids collected our “I Voted!” stickers for us.
It wasn’t a major, life-changing event, but I do think it helped put the idea in their heads that voting is not just a right but also an obligation. Every time we have the opportunity to model correct behaviour, I think we have a responsibility to do so and that’s why I made sure we got to the polls tonight.