I can be cynical. Sarcastic. But, there are some things that I do hold sacred. Midnight service on Christmas Eve always brings me to tears. Buying lemonade from little kids at a ratty card table on a hot summer day. My mom's peach jam. And voting. I get all verklempt when I leave the polling place. I think of the men and women who died so I could do this. I think of the big brains over 200 years ago who dreamed this all up. And I say a little prayer of thanks to all of them when I pull that lever.
I remember coming home from teaching high school on September 11, 2001. I'd been comforting kids all day, assuring them things were going to be okay when all I wanted to do was find my two sons and hug them tight. And have my mom give me a hug and assure me everything was going to be okay. When I pulled in my driveway and dropped my backpack on the kitchen floor, I went straight to our coat closet and got out our American flag and hung it out on our porch. And when I did that, that one simple thing, I felt comforted. I felt like I was saying to all the world--"Hey! We're America! Watch us. We're not going to crumble."
And we didn't. We survived. Other countries still look at our democracy and want to emulate it. People still want to come here. People still believe in the American Dream.
And next Tuesday, we get to vote, a right that people in other countries are still dying for.
I remember four years ago, seeing a picture on the front page of The New York Times that stunned me. And it haunts me still. It was of a little boy, a toddler, with both of his ankles in casts. He was from one of the African nations struggling to have fair elections in the midst of war. Men had come in, and when his mother refused to say where his father was and how they had voted, they shattered the little boy's ankles.
Think about that for a minute if you can. Think of the terror and horror his mother endured. The pain of the little boy. These were people who faced brutality and possible death just for trying to vote.
We have an election on the horizon and while there have been lots and lots (and lots!) of words said and written about it, there are people who won't vote because they are too busy or they just plumb forget or they don't care. There are also people who will vote without being informed. They'll vote one way because of TV ads or skin color or internet rumors that are e-mailed and forwarded by idiots (sorry, Dad.).
And I want those people to think of that little boy and his mother.
Now don't worry, I'm not going to get into a partisan
So, in the midst of NANOWRIMO, and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and all the million things that you think must be done now, please take the time to vote. And while you're at it, see if someone you know needs a ride or a reminder.
Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
I live in St. Louis, MO with my husband, am the mom/stepmom to five kids (ages 19-27), and taught high school English for 15 years. I'm over on Facebook. My first novel, ALL THE NUMBERS was published in 2006.