So again with Chasing Ray She was suggesting that literary bloggers (which I would think I am more than any other category) write about why voting is important today. Here’s the master schedule. My posting schedule is irregular enough that I didn’t sign up to be an official part of the whole thing. [Update: I made the official list. Thanks, Colleen!] So many eloquent people have already written with all of my major reasons for voting. But I’m sharing my thoughts on the matter anyway.
I lurk on Publib, one of the oldest librarian mailing lists. Frequent poster M. McGrorty asked what we would do on Wednesday morning if our candidate doesn’t win. And someone – Frances Meadows, to give her proper credit – said
“While, I will heave a big sigh and then find 10 things I can say good about the candidate even if I have to make it up! I will say CONGRATULATIONS and will not whine all day or week or year. I will treat him with the respect that he deservers since he is the President of the United States.”
I couldn’t disagree more. Sure, anyone who’s elected deserves some respect – the same courtesy as any other human being, for one, and some deference for the position. But I absolutely feel that voting gives me the right to share my opinion. And I am just as sure that whoever is elected will need to hear my complaining, whether the candidate I’m voting for wins or not.
Part of my job as a librarian is to give people the resources they need to vote. We link to multiple voting guides – VoteSmart, League of Women Voters and more. I am pleased as punch that the LMV voter guides have been flying out the door. We don’t tell people how to vote, but we certainly encourage everyone to vote.
Yesterday was my son’s fourth birthday. My friends will know this story already. Four years ago November 2 was Election Day. My OB was talking about inducing me for high blood pressure the next day. His due date wasn’t for three weeks and I hadn’t gotten an absentee ballot. I had a heart-to-heart talk with my son and told him that we really didn’t want to be induced, but that it was really, really important for Daddy and me to vote.
So my love and I got up early to go to the polls. I was having contractions and, as we found out later, appendicitis. It was cold and rainy and the lines were out the door. One of the poll workers – bless her heart – asked if anyone minded if the woman in labor cut to the front of the line. No one did. The atmosphere, from all those people who were now going to have to wait longer in line because of me, was incredibly supportive. Somebody in less pain than I was at the time would probably have heard the emotional, triumphant music swelling in the background as we were all united in helping everyone participate in our political system.
At four, my son is no longer quite so cooperative as he was that day. But I will still take him to the polls with me tomorrow. (If you live close to me, and your kids aren’t good to come with you, let me know. If you can go before three, I will watch your kids for you so you can vote.) Either my husband or I has taken him to nearly every election since his birth. He may be too young to understand the issues we care about yet, but we will teach him that care about where we live, and we vote.