Re-Posting this letter I wrote to my son on my old blog during the last presidential election, very shortly after I became a mom for the first time.
November 4, 2008
It’s election day. My first election day as your mama. I looked at my registration card today and realized that I registered to vote three days after I turned 18, which was many years ago. Today, your dad and I got up early and took turns going to the polls to vote at 6 am. I’m currently wearing a sticker with a flag on it that says “I voted.” Feelin’ pretty good about the sticker. Also feelin’ pretty good seeing all the volunteers who got up early to work the polls. It’s part of our “civic duty” – not just to vote, but to volunteer. I’ll save that lesson for another day.
I put a lot of thought toward the future as I voted today, because this is your world that we’re living in and I wonder what life will be like for you when you are 10 years old and 20 years old and 50 years old.
Most people are basically good, I will tell you that over and over again. I believe that. Elections can bring out a bad side in people, make them mean and hateful, and I just want you to know that is a minority. Just because the media wants to report on a woman who turned away trick or treaters who said their parents were voting for a candidate that she didn’t like doesn’t mean we live in a bad world. I guess it just means the mean people are more interesting.
Your mom and dad get pretty frustrated when we talk to our friends who are “single issue voters” – who are voting based only on a candidate’s stance on one issue. But then, I realized that I am also a single issue voter. At the core of my beliefs (and I will always encourage you to have your own), is my belief in Christ and my feeling that our job on this earth is to care for what the Bible calls “The Least of These.” People who cannot take care of themselves. Especially this means children, the sick and elderly. If I am a single issue voter, this is my issue:
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27
I have to look at the two parties and see which side has a history of cutting subsidies for children in Foster Care. I have to look at the two parties and see which side has a history of cutting health care coverage for struggling single mothers. I have to look at the two parties and see who has a track record of funding care for children with special needs. The reason I have to look at these issues is not because I’m a “bleeding heart” (although, I guess I kinda am). It’s because, at my job, I sit across the table from low income working families and try to help a single mother with four children and no child support who is employed full-time figure out how to feed her kids when she gets a 2% pay raise and loses all of her food stamps.
I don’t mind paying more taxes if it helps her feed her kids and encourages her to keep working and keep trying to be self-sufficient for herself and her family.
You receive a lot of special services and your dad and I happily pay a lot of money for additional therapy for you. We have good jobs and are happy to do this. I don’t want a low income working family to have to chose between keeping their electric on or paying for their child’s leg brace.
I don’t mind paying more taxes for that.
Here’s the thing, honey. Both sides mean well, both sides think they’re right. They’re both wrong. No side is 100%. We say “vote your conscience.” It makes your mom sad to see one side calling the other side “evil” or “un-Christian” just because of their views. You and your views are between you and your God. Elections should be about hope and not hate. And that goes for both sides. Personal attacks and especially attacks on candidates’ families should be off-limits. But it is accepted, our media drives it, and it clouds people’s opinions. Lies are too easily mixed with the truth. Rhetoric and talking points take the place of genuine ideas.
I don’t think either side is right. I love and respect the friends and family I know that voted for the candidate I voted against. They are good people. I don’t call them or their candidate evil. They voted their conscience and I voted mine. People will disagree, the hope is that tomorrow, when this is all over, we all have to work together to try to get this world straightened out, just a little bit, for you and the friends you are playing side by side with at pre-school this morning.
This blog is always my love letter to you. As we start this historic election day, I just wanted to let you know, honey – Your mom voted today, and I voted on a single issue. I voted James 1:27.