#TBT – Getting Out the Vote

November 6 is less than a week away. Going through the blog archives, I found this post that I wrote in November 2012. It was called “Why I Vote – For Family, For Community, For History.”

Voting is a privilege that not everyone has. You have made the effort to register to vote or requested an absentee ballot. Whatever your beliefs, whoever you support, please go to the polls. It is how we show our children that being engaged is important.

This is an unedited reprint of the November 2, 2012 post.

An old history teacher in Booneville is thinking about you.

It is a florist card. It sits in front of my computer screen. I see it every day.

March 23, 1998 was a bad day. But my Dad sent me flowers. He was a history teacher. I vote to honor him.

My father was the best kind of history teacher. When you were in his class, you learned that history didn’t mean memorizing dates and reciting chronologies. Through music, art, architecture, maps, and other original documents, we learned that history is alive – shaped by the events and activities of the people who lived in that time. As individuals. As citizens. History is about

… How ideas and fear guide personal beliefs,
… How personal beliefs influence choices,
… How choices impact the perceptions and decisions of citizens, leaders, and governments; and
… How together, these things are integral to our culture.

Mostly we learned that history is something that we share in the present. It is not just a bunch of events in the past.

To hear my 10-year-old explain it, the recent assassination attempt of a young girl on a school bus in Pakistan is “messed up” and “stupid.” She cannot believe that girls in other countries can’t go to school.

The event has opened doors to other conversations about beliefs, personal choice, governance, and using your voice. It is beyond her comprehension that in some parts of the world expressing your opinion can land you in jail or get you killed. Terrorists, war, and women’s rights are woven into her history. To vote is to use your voice.

So I vote for history. Not the big, showy superlatives that permeate everything these days, but the reasons that matter to me …

I vote as a woman whose country lets me express my opinion in hopes that others will someday be able to express theirs.

I vote as a mom who is an active part of my daughter’s history and to show her how she can someday wield her own influence.

I vote as a daughter to show my dad I was paying attention in class.

And I hope you vote. Whether you have followed the campaigns for months or haven’t paid much attention at all.

Your decision to vote matters … it is your history and your kids’ too.