Kage Baker never missed an election – never, ever, ever. Four years ago, she trekked through the dark and the rain to make sure my ballot got in as well – it was arguably the most important election in our lives, and we were determined not to miss it. Since I was confined to a hospital bed, she was the hero that time.
We were raised to believe that voting was every responsible person’s obligation. Especially for women, who fought their own government (and died!) for the right. If you don’t vote, you throw away even the chance to participate in government; at least in any more civilized way that flinging Molotov cocktails. You negate your right to bitch about the results, you lose the chance to register your own ideals and opinions, and you lose all bragging rights if your side wins. If you don’t vote, you silence yourself, before the bad guys can even threaten you!
Today are the California Primary Elections. In our house – as in Kage’s and my household before – it’s a family affair. We’ll wait until everyone is home from work and school, and then walk down together to our polling place. We’ll have a sample ballots in hand, gone over and marked. We’ll vote – all four of us now, since Michael is an adult – and I’ll get my sticker, to join the ranks adorning various bureaus and desks. It’s my way of keeping score.
It’s Mike’s first time voting in a Presidential Primary. He’s grimly determined to do his duty and exercise his rights. He’s studying to be a history teacher – he knows how much this matters.
So get out there, Dear Readers, when your own voting opportunities arise. If you’re a Californian, you know where you ought to be today! If you’ve had your primary, I hope you voted; if not, I hope you’re working up to it and staying informed. If you’re not registered: shame on you! Get out there and get registered! Speak up! Cast your vote!
I don’t even care for whom you vote. I just want the comfort of knowing that people are smart and committed enough to exercise their franchise when the time comes. Ignorance and apathy are a lot more destructive than political disagreements – I’d prefer to live in a society where responsible adults care enough to participate in their own government.
I can’t vote twice, but if I could vote in Kage’s voice, I’d do it. Because she cared.
Thus endeth the lesson.