Rock the Vote

November 04, 2014

I was in my senior English class on a drizzly February morning when I was called to the office to check out. I had no idea why my mom was standing next to the secretary's desk waiting for me. My first thought was that something awful had happened, but she was smiling. She didn't leave me wondering for long -- she was taking me to register to vote. I remember thinking that was kind of weird. I mean, why? Why was my teacher-mom, who so values education and good attendance, checking me out for this? I knew I could register when I turned 18, but doing so on my actual 18th birthday had never occurred to me. 

She drove me downtown (Again, weird. I'd been driving myself around for two years) to the County Clerk's office. I filled out a little card and got my voter ID. Then Mom drove me back to school and hurried herself back to her own building before her conference period was over. Ok. That was cool.

I never thought much more about that until years (umm, almost decades) later during the 2008 election. I've always voted; my parents always voted. In fact, they were one of those couples who liked to vote together. Voting was modeled to me as a citizen's civic duty and I have fulfilled my duty.

What I didn't understand was how deeply my mom felt about the privilege to vote. She didn't share her philosophy or her politics that morning. I didn't get a lecture or an emotional appeal to remember that others paid the ultimate price so that I could vote. I simply got an hour of my mom's time and a ride in her car. In retrospect that said more than any verbiage she might have used.

Our oldest daughter turns 18 in May. I plan on continuing this tradition with her, almost exactly like my mom did with me. I will use my conference period to give my own child a lesson in privilege and responsibility.

The midterm elections are over now and, thankfully, that means the campaigning and advertising are as well. The polls are closed and the results have been trickling, well, more like flooding in here in Arkansas. We have a new governor and a new senator. Those races were called early and now we are just waiting for the results of our local offices. I love watching the ticker roll across the bottom of the screen and hearing the word "precinct" over and over again.

As a young adult of the 90s, I hope you made it out to your polling place to rock the vote!

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