Growing up I was taught that if there is injustice in the world that it was my duty as a Jew to do whatever I could to make it right. I was taught that one of the most powerful ways to make my voice heard is to vote. Today for the first time I was able to exercise my constitutional right. Talk about empowerment. ~Natalie Lassman
This is what my daughter posted about voting in her first presidential election. Her words made me consider all those voting for the first time, or even the first time in a long time. While I definitely (and somewhat defiantly) have my views about who to vote for, I want to sit back at this moment and celebrate all those casting their first vote for president.
I think back on my first presidential election in 1980 when my candidate — Jimmy Carter — lost, and many other elections that followed in which I voted for losing candidates. Yet there was a certain sense of empowerment whenever I stepped into the voting booth, especially all those years at the Wakarusa fire station, where my mother-in-law volunteered for decades. My kids and I also voted together for years at the fire station, each one of them doing the Kids Vote deal, which I realize now was actually a brilliant way to instill a sense of citizenship in our children.
Now some of those kids are beyond Kids Vote and onto the main stage, and I’m interested not just in how they vote, but how, as the years unwind, they will lead and follow. Seeing all the facebook posts from people a generation down the line from me, I’m moved by the energy and commitment. This is not to say that massive apathy doesn’t plague millions of Americans also, and that we haven’t just been through a campaign of grueling, often far-too-negative and far-too-dependent-on-sound-bits instead of thoughtful consideration.
Each person who steps into that voting booth for the first time, however, helps us as a people burn though complacency and embrace what it means to be a people. Vote, kids, vote!