Kaitlyn brought home this nifty coloring book from school explaining all the great aspects of voting and how important it is to our society.
I was talking to Kaitlyn about it and asked her who she was going to vote for. Kaitlyn is going through an ornery "stage". I really hope it's a stage. Please be a stage. She informed me she was going to vote for Obama "just to mess with you."
I asked her how that would mess with me. She said because I don't like Obama. Which began a deep discussion about it being her vote to use wisely and on who she believes is the best candidate. If she can back up why she feels that was the best candidate, then I completely and totally support her decision. About 2 minutes into the conversation, she was bored and I could tell she regretted trying to "mess" with me and wishes she would have answered any other way.
My vote is mine. It is entirely mine. I do my best to educate myself on all of the issues reading arguments both for and against propositions. I do not always vote party lines, I do not always vote the same as Dusty, but I vote in a way that makes the most sense to me. With candidates, it's a little different. You have to take them at their word. And you have to trust a presidential candidate with one of the most important roles: choosing supreme court justices. A responsibility that lasts long after their 4-8 years is up. A responsibility that truly shapes our country.
I remember the first time I voted. I was just over 18. It was 2000. I voted for Al Gore. He had the most convincing commercials. I remember being disappointed that I couldn't vote for Bill Clinton. I remember being even more irritated that George Bush won.
Then, September 11, 2001 shook everything I knew to be true. It changed everything. I saw the look of bewilderment and sadness in our president's eyes as he was told the news. I saw the devastation. I was introduced to talk radio and a lot of things made sense. Of course, I started out listening to Opie and Anthony, which was absolutely not the best place to get information on political aspects of our country. But, it led me to wanting to do my own research. It made me not want to just follow all the commercials on TV or the radio when voting.
I like to think I've evolved as a voter. I care about the issues. I care about the propositions. I want to know who wrote them, why they wrote them, what repercussions could happen if they are passed. I've learned that you do not have to agree with 100% of a party to vote for it and I learned you will never agree 100% with a candidate.
I do not feel guilty for voting for Al Gore, but I do feel that when I voted for Bush in 2004, I was making a more educated decision for myself.
I hope the one thing Kaitlyn learns from voting at school is that being educated on who or what you're voting for is just as important at voting. I hope she always follows her mind and her heart. I hope that she understands it's completely ok to disagree with her parents, her friends or her teachers. I hope that she finds a voice to back up why she believes what she believes. I hope that her compassion and empathy continue to grow regardless of the constant hounding of political ads at every twist and turn. I hope that she learns to love the political process regardless of the ridiculous claims by the candidates or scare tactics of campaigns.
I hope that when she votes in her first presidential election in 2024, she does it intelligently and with pride.