Dear White Fang and Muffin,
As one of you definitely knows, and the other has heard tossed around in adult discussion, it’s an election year. One of you is already old enough to know what issues are important to you, and how you would vote if you were eligible. The other…well, we’ll get there (but please, not too fast).
The year I turned 18 happened to be one of a Presidential election. Your Grandpa took me to the polls with him on the day, made sure one of the officials explained to me how to fill out the ballot, and then I was in one of those curtained booths, on my own, to make up my mind, to cast my vote.
Before the day, there were no conversations trying to persuade me to vote one way or another. I generally knew what values and policies my parents held regarding politics and various moral/social issues, but I never felt any pressure to conform to them.
In our family, the message I’ve always received is that voting is a privilege, one hard-earned by those who came before us, who were willing to fight for it, so exercising that privilege on Election Day has a sense of civic duty.
Ages ago, long before you were born, your great-grandmother researched our family tree, going back as far as she could. She found out that your great-grandfather was directly descended from John Alden, a passenger on The Mayflower, one of the first English ships to land in the New World.
We literally come from people who risked their lives to gain independence. We come from folks who felt thinking for yourself mattered, a whole lot. In our blood remain the ideals of personal freedom, liberty, and speaking up against injustice.
So, as your mother, I say: When you’re old enough to do so, vote.
Don’t vote for the candidate “everybody else” is casting their ballot for. Choose the candidate who has policies that align with your values and desires for the future of our family, your friends, this country, this world.
Do your research ahead of time; know your history; read up on science, philosophy, and religion, so that you understand the issues and the debates around them. Connect with others who agree and disagree with you, find out what they believe and why they feel that way.
Know why you’re choosing that candidate, that party, that view. Vote in the way your conscience, your gut, steers you.
I won’t tell you who to vote for, and you don’t have to tell me who you chose on the ballot. Though you can if you want.
Love, The Invisible Moth