In history-making fashion, my husband and I headed to the polls last night for the Wisconsin recall elections. According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, there have been only 20 recalls like this since 1908 in the entire US. Wisconsin is holding 9 in just one month, fueled in part by a vote to strip government workers of their collective bargaining rights. There have been more campaigners at my door every single day this past month than there were for the last presidential election–and kind, non-pushy, polite ones at that. I am more than proud to say that I was a participant in this unprecedented event.
But more importantly, we took our three-year-old son along. He took in the scene from the school gymnasium with wide eyes and followed along with us so obediently, as if he knew something important was happening here necessitating his best behavior. The fact that there were only two people on the ballot made the voting process painless, but still… He was absorbing an event that was completely new to him, but something that we, as his parents, are determined to instill as completely normal activity. Voting is just what we do.
I grew up in a politically-apathetic house, where no one really voted or paid attention to elections until we were in high school and urged our mom to vote just so we could get extra credit points in social studies. The concepts of “the structure of the government” and “how a bill becomes a law” were foreign to me in school. And now, though I wouldn’t really call myself completely politically-inclined, I still take my right to vote very seriously and do what research I can at election time. I firmly believe that the actions of one person are crucial. And just like with working out, I want my son to see voting as something routine, just a natural thing, so he might be more inclined to take a proactive role in his own life and that of his country when he’s all grown up.
Wait, I didn’t say that. He’s going to be my little baby forever!