Many Americans these days are cynical about the election process. There’s talk about rigged elections and votes not really counting. But as the daughter of immigrants who escaped their home country due to political persecution, I take the privilege of voting very seriously. The process isn’t perfect, but I still think it’s my civic duty to make my voice heard. My parents didn’t have that right in their home country, so growing up in America I was always told that it was important to stay informed and be involved.
Now that I have kids of my own I want to instill in them those same values. My son is five years old and this is the first time he’s cognitive about the election season. Truthfully I have shielded him from much of the political discussions because I haven’t felt it appropriate for him. I have, however, informed him that we will soon be electing a new president and how important it is to vote. After having a talk about the upcoming elections I asked him if he would want to come with me to vote. He enthusiastically accepted.
I decided to participate in my state’s early voting process to avoid the long lines of Election Day. I actually brought my son with me to vote on Election Day four years ago when he was just a baby. Obviously he had no idea what was going on and it wasn’t easy keeping a one year old entertained as we waited in line. Therefore, to the library we went for early voting.
I picked him up from school and as we drove to the library I told him about his grandparents immigrating to America and being granted political asylum. I told him about how they worked and studied hard to learn English and become citizens of this country. I told him about how we have to be appreciative of our rights here. Again, he’s five, so I’m sure he doesn’t understand the full scope of the situation, but nonetheless he was happy to hear the stories.
As we went through the short line to receive my ballot I showed him what it looked like and explained we would be voting for President but also for various other positions as well as laws and amendments. He sat at my feet as I filled in all the little bubbles.
Soon we were done and walked away with smiles and “I voted” stickers on our shirts. I wouldn’t say I’m an especially patriotic person, but I am grateful to live in this country. I don’t take the democratic process lightly. Many have fought for the freedom we get to experience in this country. My own parents have sacrificed so much to give their children and grandchildren a better life in this country. I’m grateful that my son gets to live here and I hope that he will grow up to be a proud and informed citizen.