Today’s election day across the country and I’m faced with the choice of not only the candidates for the various offices – and trust me, I’m not thrilled about the various options – but which kid goes with me to vote.
It was easier when the kids were very little since my wife and I would trade off. She’d vote in the morning or after work and I’d go in the evening after she’d returned to watch the kids. But they’re older now and while Eldest could watch Youngest, Eldest and Middle also need to see the process in action. The problem is that under our voting laws, I’m only allowed to take one minor into the voting booth with me while the other stands around outside and twiddles the proverbial thumb. Each is old enough to understand not only the process but also some of the issues in varying degree and I expect that it will ultimately come down to a coin toss.
The other issue that I have with voting in this election, far more than in previous elections, is that I’m frankly disgusted both with the slates of candidates offered by both parties as well as the campaign system in general. I recall my parents bitching about the various politicians when I was younger, but they at least perceived that there were other choices and there really was a better candidate. The message that I got was that the system worked and if one did sufficient research, one could actually find the best candidate for the post. But today, I look at the candidates and I see political hacks of all stripes whose sole preoccupation upon entering office is to hang onto the gravy train. Likewise, much of the political power in the country has shifted to the corporations and financial sector. I might never get my congressman to personally take my call but a multinational corporation with sufficient resources will have his attention in a New York minute.
That means that I have to monitor my disgust and try to keep some kind of balance when I’m talking about the political process with the kids. While I’m jaded at the moment, a part of me believes that it is a civic duty and hopes that there will be time that the pendulum has swung back and there really are alternatives. I consequently have to try not to ruin youthful optimism for fear that when the moment arrives, they’ll have opted out of the political process in despair. While I can recall my father excoriate a particular candidate, I never heard him excoriate the entire group of candidates as I’m wont to do inside my head.
So when I enter the voting booth with one of the kids, I’ll try to make sure that I refer to a particular candidate as a lying sack of @#$% instead of all of them as lying sacks of @#$%.
And I promise not to hold my nose while I vote, either.